THE theologian and novelist Evelyn Underhill was irrepressibly prolific, pushed by a profound love for God and the Physique of Christ. She wrote greater than 30 books and numerous letters, to not point out her innumerable retreats and lectures inside and past the Church. Underhill’s significance in shaping the contours of Christian life in fashionable Britain shouldn’t be underestimated, and lately she has been making an actual comeback, not least due to this yr’s centenary of her reception into the Church of England, and her newly restored monument at Hampstead Parish Church.
Robyn Wrigley-Carr, one of many world’s foremost Underhill consultants, has curated a spread of Underhill’s writing, directing us to a prayerful and holy Advent. What comes by way of most clearly in Underhill’s reflections on Christian life is God’s compassion. Certainly, Wrigley-Carr opens the e book with what Underhill informed one buddy who was struggling below the social and festal pressures of the season: “I do hope your Invisible Christmas can be filled with the Lord though the Seen half could also be slightly troublesome.”
The e book and Underhill’s objective is to focus our gaze on God, as a result of “It’s that focus which permits us, small creatures as we’re, to transmit God’s Like to others.” That stated, Underhill’s characteristically wry observations on the pitfalls of satisfaction are right here, too: “What actually issues to you most? The perfection of His mighty symphony, or your personal remarkably intelligent efficiency of that troublesome passage for the tenth violin?”
The e book’s construction is good for teams, and there may be nourishment for the soul on each web page. Underhill reminds us that “Our inheritance is God, our Father and House. We recognise Him, as a result of we already carry in our hearts a tough sketch of His beloved countenance. Trying into these deeps, as right into a quiet pool in a darkish forest, we there discover wanting again at us the Face we implicitly lengthy for and but already know.”
This Introduction, Wrigley-Carr encourages us to let Underhill be our companion, in order that we could put together for Jesus our Emmanuel by being “fastidiously tuned in, delicate to the music of Eternity”.
The Revd Dr Ayla Lepine is the Ahmanson Fellow in Artwork and Faith on the Nationwide Gallery.
Music of Eternity: Meditations for Introduction with Evelyn Underhill: The Archbishop of York’s Introduction Guide 2021
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