Standing on Shoulders

When one walks about in Westminster Abbey it is difficult not to be awed by those buried there.  We can start with Chaucer and work our way through the centuries.  Poet laureate Ben Jonson is buried upright. Henry Purcell, Isaac Newton, George Handel, Charles Dickens, David Livingstone, Charles Darwin, Robert Browning, Rudyard Kipling are just a sampling of the greats.  Many are below the floor and one finds oneself standing on a great person’s marker.  When I was a boy my Dad taught me that it was disrespectful to walk on people’s graves.  However, one cannot avoid doing so in Westminster.

While walking from marker to marker I realized that all of us stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before.  Those individuals would be shocked to see our modern technology but we are not smarter than they.  We just have more information. That information came by building on information we inherited from them. Our children will know more than we because we teach, they learn and they build upon it.

Recently I heard a foolish person talking about being self-made. It is a completely ridiculous thought.  It is impossible to be self-made.  We are the product of all the learning and wisdom of those gone before us.  Carl Sagan once wisely said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first create the universe.”  And so it is with our salvation. We are not self-saved.  We have no righteousness to bring before God.  Eternity is built on the sacrifice of God Himself.  He made us.  He took responsibility for us and died for us.  We are the product of love and it doesn’t get any better than that.

Written by Roger Bothwell on January 29, 2013

Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574