Belonging to Christ means that we give sway to his Spirit, who dwells within us. The Spirit not only directs us but enables our obedience, reshaping us into “little christs,” followers who are eager to do God’s will and seize the opportunities he gives us. The more we learn to live in the Spirit, the more peace and joy we will have, and the more fruitful our lives will become.
In her book Practicing Peace, Catherine Whitmire tells the story of William Dizler, a man who lived in the nineteenth century. It seems that Dizler sensed that God wanted him to use part of his lunch hour to stand near an open window and read the Bible aloud. He did it for several weeks until he suddenly felt that he didn’t need to do it any longer. Sometime later, a clergyman from a local church came to visit him. “I feel I should tell you of an experience of one of my parishioners,” the pastor explained.
Dizler asked if it was anyone he knew.
“I think not,” the pastor replied. “She was a young girl who lived in an upper room across the courtyard from your office. Although she knew she was dying of tuberculosis, she had become bitter toward God and refused to meet with me. Then one day, the voice of an unseen, unknown reader came to her. She tried not to listen. She put her hands over her ears and pulled up the covers. Still the voice came day after day. Gradually she began to listen and she died in great peace.”
Dizler could have dismissed the thought that he should spend the better part of his lunch hour reading Scripture out loud in front of an open window. It might have seemed like a silly thing to do. But instead, he listened, and a young woman found peace.
**William Dizler story found in Catherine Whitmire, Practicing Peace: A Walk Through the Quaker Tradition (Notre Dame, IN: Sorin, 2007), 54.