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July 19, 2007



Is the way really narrow? I thought that it was a central Christian tenet that the way to salvation is widely achievable through acceptance of Christ.

I suppose "the way" is narrow, but one need not actually walk it as long as one is honestly attempting to do so? Or is it narrow in the sense that there's only one way to salvation, despite its general availability and achievability?

Nathan Smith

The "narrow way" is from the New Testament:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

"Widely achievable" is not necessarily incompatible with the way being narrow. On earth, if a gate is narrow, everyone can pass through it, given enough time; no doubt the mystical or metaphorical narrow gate of which Jesus speaks is such that it would be logically possible for an unlimited number of people to be saved at once. I do think the path of salvation is always available to us, no matter what we have done... at any rate in this life... yet at the same time, only a few of the vast number of possible courses we could take lead that way. Often the path is something that would never even have occurred to us on our own; and only in the right spirit-- with a humble and contrite heart-- will we recognize it if we see it.

Shaun McKiernan

I've just become familiar with the Wexford Carol below... another great one is "Huron Carol" or "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime"... any other great Christmas Carols that are a little off the beaten track? (Another favorite: In the Bleak Midwinter)

Nathan, the last line of the first stanza should be redeeming! "But........"

Good people all, this Christmas-time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas day;
In Bethlehem upon that morn
There was a blessed Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark how all things came to pass;
From every door repelled alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but an humble ox's stall.

There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star,
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay,
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah was,
They humbly cast them at his feet,
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God's angels did appear,
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
'Prepare and go', the angles said.
'To Bethlehem, be not afraid:
For there you'll find, this happy morn,
A princely babe, sweet Jesus born.

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God's angel had foretold,
They did our saviour Christ behold.
Within a manger he was laid,
And by his side the virgin maid,
Attending on the Lord of life,
Who came on earth to end all strife

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