CMP Review 2023-03-05

CMP Review 2023-03-05

Charlotte Mason wrote a set of eleven poems under the heading “The Water of Life.” The full set was inspired by only three short verses in the New Testament. But for Charlotte Mason, the idea of thirst and fulfillment was integral to her philosophy of education, as well as to her philosophy of life.

Three weeks ago when I shared the fourth poem here, I noted that to be human is to be thirsty. We also know that to be human is to be created in the image of God. But sometimes it can be hard to relate the imperfections of our humanity to the perfections of God.

Kazoh Kitamori was born in Kumamoto, Japan in 1916. As a teenager, he read a paper about Martin Luther that inspired a lifelong interest in theology. He became a professor, a pastor, and a writer. He is now remembered by some as the one who “developed the first original theology from the East.”

Emil Brunner describes this contribution as follows: “The theology of Kitamori is the first attempt to make suffering an attribute of God in contrast to the orthodox idea of the happiness of God, which is rather an idea of Platonic philosophy than of the New Testament gospel.”

Dr. Katamori was particularly struck by Jeremiah 31:20 in which we read of God’s yearning for Ephraim. The Authorized Version says that God was “troubled for him.” Katamori found here the gospel of the cross. In a phrase that is hard for the mind to grasp, Katamori noted that “God loves the objects of his wrath.”

In Psalm 42 the psalmist compared his thirst to that of a panting deer. It is a powerful image of human need. But in one of my very favorite poems of Charlotte Mason, she makes a stunning observation. Two are thirsty. Read and contemplate the moving poem here.