What mathematicians we all are, adding and subtracting with days for our digits. Life is adding their number towards a total yet unknown. It is also subtracting from what that figure is going to be. Together in their sequence they are a tale of ‘YESTER-MORROWS’ strangely turning on the fulcrum of ‘TODAY’.
Paul used that ‘daily dying’ language about the dangers of the road and of the sea in his many travels. But his Letters suggest another meaning of which that ‘travelogue’ is only an analogy. What could he have meant by writing: ‘I have been crucified with Christ’?—something that was only true of a brigand named Barabbas and another of his kind.
What, then, could he be meaning to say, unless his own self-surrender to the meaning of the Cross? If, indeed, Jesus died this way, then he—Paul—must count that death his own and to this Sufferer he must belong as disciple and servant. This death had set a frame of reference into which he must fit his own self, his mind and heart. He had found ‘who’ he should be in ‘where’ he must belong. The sequel spelled liberation but only as captivity.
Tomorrow comes from yesterday: yesterday holds and unfolds tomorrow. Today is the path they take. Macbeth called it ‘This petty pace’. What different words we put there—hectic, comic, tragic, steady, ardent, weary, gentle, glad—the mathematics of ‘this transitory life’.
After reflecting on ‘The Dailiness of Life’ and on ‘Daily’, a crucial word in the Lord’s Prayer, eleven chapters here trace the lives and thoughts of eleven literary figures. ‘Life’s casualties’ might be one way of describing them but if so, as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote: ‘Seeing the sick endears them to us: us too it endears.’ ‘Make mercy in all of us, out of us all mastery: but be adored, be adored King.’
Kenneth Cragg read English and American History as an undergraduate at Jesus College, Oxford, but history fires an incentive for literature which, with philosophy, he taught at the American University of Beirut, and later in the inter-disciplinary system of the University of Sussex.
These interests were seasoned by experience as Chaplain in Beirut and Bishop within the Anglican Jurisdiction in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
138 x 216mm, 278 pages, hardback
ISBN 978 1 901764 59 8