Friday, October 03, 2008

On Love.

The theme for my RDL this week is God's love. There is no escaping this now. I could write about it, and not run out of words. I hope by the end of this week, I would be more accepting of God's Love for me. I hope to grow in faith in this area, the most important gift there is, and the one I have mishandled most often.

The thing that makes this different is that human love always gets in the way. I imagine God's love to be something akin to how I have seen, and expressed, love, thus I always get entangled in a confusing web of emotions I attribute to God, but which are not consistent with His character.

The concept of unconditional love, though deeply ingrained in me since my First Confession in 1983, is something I always forget. I often fear God's immediate judgment, as if he were a policeman with a bat ready to punish me, or a judge with a gavel willing to sentence me to eternal doom for every accumulated sin.

My assignment is to look at His creation and to see the beauty that comes into every flower, every tree, and every cloud that I see. Perhaps in being still and in absorbing beauty, I would relax in my concept of a harsh God, and see once more that He could be...

A friend.
A teacher.
A Lover.

I think now of the people whom I know love me. How do I know they love me, when they don't tell me everyday? I just know because of the way they talk to me, take care of me, believe in me.

I think of the people whom I love. It's very hard for me to say "I love you", but I think everyone knows my deep capacity for love. I show love in different languages - in acts of service, in words of affirmation, in giving gifts, in physical touch, and in quality time.

But these two do not compare to God's Love. It is at once powerful and gentle. It is invisible yet tangible. It is real, constant, and permanent.

It is so hard to embrace it. To simply accept it. To be in awe of it (as I am being encouraged to pray for).

The Psalm reading for today is apt. Psalm 139 speaks about God's love for us from the time we were formed in our mother's womb, and how we cannot escape this love.

Psalm 139
Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

139:1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. [1]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain! [2]
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts! [3]
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! [4]

I will not stop wondering, reflecting, and writing about love. At least not this week anyway. I know I'll never be worthy of this love, but at least I should believe in it in a deeper sense as I grow as a Christian and move on in my journey.

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