The last few days have been marvelous, as I have spent time with old friends and made several new.
The older I get and the more challenging the times, the more I listen for love. This morning as I prayed, my heart’s expression was to become a safe place for the Spirit. A quite heart, free from my arrogance, my greed, my lusts and all the noise and clamor that would disturb this dove of God’s love; a real being who desires to rest in the sanctuary of our hearts.
I was consciously reflecting on the joy of the last 72 hours, spent with some ten or more friends, whose lives I know are devoted to sharing the joy of Christ. Those hours seem to have brought me to a new place of desire, a renewed sense of possibilities as this aging sinner moves forward; a need to distance myself from the volume of regrets that can so easily come to a person of passion and purpose. Time is so valuable and meaningful moments seem so rare, though the reality is that every moment is meaningful; perhaps it is the missing of those moments that makes them so rare?
Having friends that open their own hearts that share vulnerable moments, and exchange learnings in hope of bringing change is the greatest treasure one can possess.
Then there is the Spirit’s reinforcement of those moments, which I seemed to experience this morning. First there was the sacred rhythm that I awake to each morning, opening the scriptures and reading sequentially, while trusting the Lord to show me what I need for that day.
This morning, Ezekiel of all places, verses 17:22-24:
22 “‘The Lord and King says, “I myself will get a twig from the very top of a cedar tree and plant it. I will break off the highest twig. I will plant it on a very high mountain. 23 I will plant it on the high mountains of Israel. It will produce branches and bear fruit. It will become a beautiful cedar tree. All kinds of birds will make their nests in it. They will live in the shade of its branches. 24 All of the trees in the fields will know that I bring tall trees down. I make short trees grow tall. I dry up green trees. And I make dry trees green.”
“‘I have spoken. I will do it. I am the Lord.’”1
That was then superimposed on the President’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, the results of another rhythm that may sound less spiritual but is equally important to my calling. Each day, I read the morning newspaper, in hopes of gaining some bearings on just how the things I learn in prayer, might best be applied within my community. The beauty of President Obama’s words brought a renewed awareness of this marvelous nation we live in, warts and all!
America seems so often used by the Lord to bring clarity to a greater prophetic work that is accomplished on this earth. Not a work of politics, economics, power and warfare, the not so pleasant things which we too often focus on; but rather, an unseen work of love, a work more easily received in our hearts and through our relationships with others.
In such contemplative moments, The Lord often overwhelms me with His goodness and His presence. This morning, my prayers seemed to taking me my heart once more to the bottom line of who God is: God is love. Love is not a thing; Love is a “who”.
I then seemed drawn toward my favorite portion of scripture, I Corinthians 13:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Then I opened my daily on-line read from Richard Rohr and there it was again:
“I believe the summary meaning of the resurrection of Jesus is totally summed up in the climactic line from the Song of Songs (8:6) that I translate as “love is stronger than death.” Love will win! Love is all that remains. Love and life are finally the same thing, and you know that for yourself once you have walked through any real death (there are many forms).
Love has you. Love is you. Love alone, and your deep need for love, recognizes Love itself. Remember that you already are what you are seeking. Any fear “that your lack of fidelity could cancel God’s fidelity, is absurd” (Romans 3:3-4), says the master teacher, Paul.”2
So, here I sit, listening for love and “amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene…singing oh, how wonderful, oh, how marvelous is my Savior’s love for me!”3
1 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)