O Love, divine Love why do you lay siege to me?
In a frenzy of love for me, You find no rest.
From five sides you move against me,
Hearing, sight, taste, touch, and scent.
To come out is to be caught; I cannot hide from You.
If I come out through sight I see Love
Painted in every form and color,
Inviting me to come to You, to dwell in You.
If I leave through the door of hearing,
What I hear points only to You, Lord;
I cannot escape Love through this gate.
If I come out through taste, every flavor proclaims;
“Love, divine Love, hungering Love!
You have caught me on Your hook, for you want to reign in me.”
If I leave through the door of scent
I sense You in all creation, You have caught me
And wounded me through that fragrance.
If I come out through the sense of touch
I find Your lineaments in every creature;
To try to flee from You is madness.
Love, I flee from You, afraid to give You my heart;
I see that You make me one with You,
I cease to be me and can no longer find myself.
If I see evil in a man or defect or temptation,
You fuse me with him, and make me suffer;
O Love without limits, who is it You love?
It is You, O Crucified Christ,
Who takes possession of me,
Drawing me out of the sea to the shore;
There I suffer to see Your wounded heart.
Why did You endure the pain?
So that I might be healed.
Jacapone Da Todi
Thanks Jonathan for a lovely Epiphany service tonight and for sharing with us this poem.
Trying to figure out what Chesterton meant by the following:
“In the last resort the exaggeration of sex becomes sexlessness . . . Sex is the bait and not the hook; but in that last extreme of evil the man likes the hook and not the bait . . .”
A friend suggests the following:
- The bark is louder than the bite–we talk more and act less;
- When we do act, we are not sure what to do with it–like a dog running after a bus;
- Sex is really a false sense of intimacy, we want intimacy more than sex; we think it is the end but really it is a means to the end (intimacy)
- We are screwed and screwed up, that why Jesus came to save and sanctify us.
Reminds me of Rob Bell’s Sex God in which he links sex with spirituality saying we think sex is about this but it is really about that—that being God. Here is my post on that book.
I like the following quote from Gary Thomas’ Pure Pleasure which I just finished,
If I find my pleasure in Starbucks alone, I am at the mercy of a company that may go out of business. If I seek my pleasure in sex alone, I make myself vulnerable to a fading, aging body—as well as to the cooperation of a partner. If my pleasure is in a business, I remain subject to the whims of my consumers. But if my life has been a single journey always pointing me to find my fulfillment in God—urging me to see each earthly pleasure as a reflection of his kindness, goodness, and love—then my ultimate pleasure has become more certain than anything this world can offer.
So what do you think?
A post from my friend, John, five months after the death of his wife. He is trying to explain how people can help. I only made slight edits from his original post. Here is how you can help someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one:
- Remember – Share your memories of the one who has died–even if you’re sad. What do you remember about her? Don’t be afraid to speak about the loved one because you want to make your friend sad. As John said, “I do sad really well and it actually encourages me when people talk about her in natural ways and in normal conversation.”
- Acknowledge – In the first year after death, there are many significant days. John pleads, “Please acknowledge them. My heart, even if my head misses it, “marks” these days. It helps to have people say something, remember, be there.”
- Share – Share with your friend when you miss their loved one. Sharing our losses with our friend can mean a lot to them. As John said, I learn that “I’m not alone in the loss, others experience her loss too.”
- Enter – “It helps to have people who will enter my loss, confusion and pain. Listening, just being present really make a difference. Silence to protect me or to avoid the awkwardness of talking about my wife’s death adds to my loneliness and isolation. I would much prefer to weep and be sad than to be left alone emotionally.”
Powerful words. Thank you John for these deep glimpses into your soul.
Biggest impact on me so far in my family development class has been our discussion on differentiation or the “capacity to hold onto yourself while still pursuing the relationship.” As Christians, we tend to confuse oneness in marriage with emotional fusion. In marriage, there should be a preservation of the person while a oneness being formed.
Our prof suggested that most of us are less differentiated than we think we are. We will likely be as differentiated as was our family of origin and tend to marry someone of similar differentiation.
¨We crave that which we can’t attain, but we disrespect and resent that from which we can’t escape.” Dr. Dobson
Happy Valentines Day. Enjoy the followng. Some serious but mostly not.
Gary Thomas states this as well as anyone in his book Sacred Marriage:
What if God didn’t design marriage to be “easier”? What if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy as if the world were a perfect place?
Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value, and I slowly began to understand that the real purpose of marriage may not be happiness as much as it is holiness. Not that God has anything against happiness, or that happiness and holiness are by nature exclusive, but looking at marriage through the lens of holiness began to put it into an entirely new perspective for me.
Marriage Qualities you learn
On their 50th wedding anniversary and during the banquet celebrating it, Tom was asked to give his friends a brief account of the benefits of a marriage of such long duration.
“Tell us Tom, just what is it you have learned from all those wonderful years with your wife?” an anonymous voice yelled from the back of the room.
Tom responded, “Well, I’ve learned that marriage is the best teacher of all. It teaches you loyalty, meekness, forbearance, self-restraint, forgiveness — and a great many other qualities you wouldn’t need if you stayed single.”
Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy
Smart boss + smart employee = profit
Smart boss + dumb employee = production
Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion
Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime
A man will pay $20 for a $10 item he needs.
A woman will pay $10 for a $20 item that she doesn’t need.
GENERAL EQUATIONS & STATISTICS
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.
Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.
PROPENSITY TO CHANGE
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, and she does.
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
HOW TO STOP PEOPLE FROM BUGGING YOU ABOUT GETTING MARRIED
Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, “You’re next.” They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.
The Frog and the Princess
The frog said to the princess, “I was once a handsome prince until an evil witch put a spell on me. One kiss from you and I will turn back into a handsome prince and then we can marry, move into the castle with my mom, and you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel happy doing so.”
That night, the princess had frogs legs for dinner.
God is “kind to the ungrateful and to the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36 ESV)
This post follows the one I started on Feb 3 2010.
John Fischer in his catch of the day for Feb 2, 2010, wrote about the lack of kindness and civility regarding the political issues of our day. He says, as a result, “the hope for gentle debate and reaching a more complicated, but equitable consensus is unlikely.”
Most people would have no problem with his comments at this point. But, then he writes that the church
“has taken sides along with everyone else and lost its authority to speak into the deeper levels of these issues. The gospel, which values every human being and every human being’s right to freedom, justice and equality has lost its middle ground. While the truth should be speaking into both sides, it is being heard only in one.”
While it is certainly okay and right to have a position on the various issues of our day, as Christians should we not, of all people, be able to reach across the barrier of whatever issue is being discussed, to value and love those who hold another, even opposite, position from our own? Again, from Fischer,
“We must remember these are real people we are talking about—people who like us, need Jesus. Making an enemy of someone for whom Christ died is not consistent with the message of the gospel.
. . . We can represent the love of Jesus to everyone. And we can listen and learn even from those with whom we might disagree.”
The expression of mercy was important in the ministry of Jesus. Twice (Mtt 9:13, 12:7) Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 in which we are told that it is better to show mercy than it is to offer a sacrifice. There at least five passages in which people beg for mercy before Jesus or God in the gospels. Four of these are found in Matthew (9:27, 15:22; 17:15; 20:30-31). Luke also gives us the parable in which the tax collector cries out, God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:9-14) Needless to say, all who request mercy in these examples are shown mercy.
God seems to delight in showing mercy to people. As He does so, He receives much glory. (Romans 11:32-36; 15:9)
Because of God’s mercy, we are to offer our bodies to him as living sacrifices. We are to recognize that we have a ministry because of God has shown mercy to us (2 Cor 4:1). Our salvation comes because of the mercy (and grace) of God. (Eph 2:8-10, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:3) It seems to be valuable for us to continually go back and remember that once we had not received mercy from God. (1 Pet 2:10)
If we say that we will show mercy to others when they beg for mercy, it would be helpful to read 1 Tim 1:13-14; which says that Paul experienced the mercy of God even when ignorant, in unbelief and while acting as a blasphemer, persecutor and violent man. It might also be worthwhile to consider that God demonstrated his love and mercy to us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). I don’t know about you but I continue to desperately need the mercy of God every day (Heb 4:14-16). Interestingly enough, God’s wisdom is said to be full of mercy. (James 3:17)
To be honest, I don’t know all the ways that we are to show mercy and love to those who disagree with us, who are on the opposite side of political issues, to our enemies. But, I am pretty sure that we are to show them mercy and that we are to be the ones who initiate expressions of mercy. Here are some ideas:
- Show respect by listening to them (even when they do not listen to us)
- Communicate love not hatred (even when they express hatred of us and our position)
- Be kind and tender hearted, assuming the best of others (see Eph 4 here)
- Avoid name calling (avoid being contentious, seasoning every word we speak with grace)
- Agree to disagree
If others can come up with more specific ideas from their context, I would appreciate the sharing of your ideas.
It may be helpful for you to know that the impetus for this post comes out of discussions I have had on political issues with friends and watching/reading the news. I admit to being a Republican and of my disagreement with a lot (if not most) of what our President has been doing. However, I have been uncomfortable with what I have been hearing coming from the mouths of evangelicals about the political scene today. So, when I read a post by John Fischer this morning based on Luke 6:32-36, I started to write.
Surprise, surprise! Each time I read that God is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked” in Luke 6:36 I am aware how much the church (and I am including myself here!) does not appear to practice this. Actually, Jesus does not tell us that we are to be like God in this respect. However, he does tell us to love our enemies, do good to our enemies and lend to our enemies without expecting to get anything back
in return. Hmmm, maybe this is being kind to the ungrateful and wicked?
What Jesus does tell us here in Luke 6:36 is that we are to “be merciful just as Your Father (in Heaven) is merciful.” The word here oiktirmon is an adjective and is found only in James 5:11 where James is trying to encourage perseverance for those experiencing suffering and says “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” From hileos and eleos (other words for merciful), Jesus tells us that the merciful are blessed because they will be shown mercy (Mtt 5:7), we learn that Jesus is a faithful and merciful high priest (Heb 2:17) and are warned that we will experience a judgment without mercy if we have failed to be merciful ourselves (James 2:12). Read Matthew 18:23-35 for a sobering parable about someone who failed to show mercy and forgiveness after having experienced it themselves.
Most interesting is in Jude in which we are commanded to “Be merciful to those who doubt.” That kind of makes sense since in 1:22, we are told to “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” And regarding the false prophets, Jude writes in verse 23, “snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude is not saying to agree with these people nor even to condone their behavior but he is telling us to be merciful. Why? Because God has been merciful to us!
So, if we are to show mercy to our enemies, what about those on the opposite side of a political issue than us? If you think that does not sound fair or wise, I suggest you read the parable in Matthew 20:1-16. God seems to anticipate that some may not like the idea of his showing mercy to certain people and so he states in Romans 9:15-18, “I will show mercy to those to whom I want to show mercy.” Please take up any issues on this with God!
TO BE CONTINUED!