We often hear the criticism that the Church is afflicted with piety, but the real trouble is that its piety is not deep enough! An important contribution would be the liberation of the term “piety” from its present damaging connotations, reinstating it as a term of respect. We, indeed, have a little piety; we say a few prayers; we sing meaningfully a few hymns; we read snatches from the Bible. But all of this is far removed from the massive dose that we sorely need if we are to be the men and women who can perform a healing service in our generation.
The seat of our disease, says Helmut Thielicke, “is not in the branches of our nerves at all but rather in our roots which are stunted and starved.” The eloquent German points out that Martin Luther prayed four hours each day, “not despite his busy life but because only so could he accomplish his gigantic labors.” Luther worked so hard that a little desultory praying would not suffice. “To work without praying and without listening,” continues Thielicke, “means only to grow and spread oneself upward, without striking roots and without an equivalent in the earth.”
—Elton Trueblood, The New Man for Our Time
How are your roots doing these days? Might this be an area in which you exert a bit of Lenten discipline?