I’m visited this morning by Rufus M. Jones through his little book, New Eyes for Invisibles. I notice that the flyleaf is stamped “discarded” by the public library where my mother-in-law once worked. Aware of my interest in Rufus Jones she didn’t throw the book away. She passed it on to me. The book was written in 1943, the year I was born.
Rufus Jones, one of the most influential Quakers of the 20th century, was born in 1863 and died in 1948. He was a Quaker historian, theologian, philosopher, and a professor at Haverford College. I never met Rufus in person (I was only 5 years old when he died) but I feel like I know him because of the many visits we have enjoyed together through his books. I’ve read Vining’s biography of Rufus and I’ve read his three-volume autobiography. I have read most of his published works. I feel I know him very well. We are good friends and our visits together are always memorable. I’m glad my mother-in-law did not discard his little book through which Rufus has come to chat with me this morning.
Rufus assures me that God “knows what is in the dark” (Daniel 2:22). He reminds me that this moment in time is not the first time that a disturbing darkness has swept over the human spirit and the American Dream. He tells me of other periods of darkness. He bids me see from the perspective of history, and to be aware of this fact, “these dark epochs have, strangely enough, almost invariably been birth epochs for a new day.” It is not ease and security which produce Light in the Darkness. The human spirit comes to fulfillment out of travail and agony and it will do so again and again. Rufus urges me to see “the treasures of darkness,” and to accept the biblical word (even if I can’t understand it at the moment) that the darkness and the light are both alike to the “Pilot of the ship.”
He tells me the real battle, now as always, is in the soul. What is happening to human minds right now is more important than the issues of immigration, school shootings, prolonged wars, and the building of walls (all kinds of walls) to keep people out. He assures me “as has happened since creation’s primal day, the darkness will be followed by the light—and even now God knows what is in the dark.”
“O, Rufus, I’m so glad your little book was not discarded, and I’m grateful for your visit with me this morning. Please come more often and give me new eyes for invisibles."