God loves by mysterious means. Often it is in His discipline, yet sometimes in a conversation, a kiss, or a lyric. And just as often, this love seems to be expressed with equally mysterious timing. Tonight, it was through these familiar lyrics that He reminded me of His costly love – a love that embraces and leaves you speechless, weeping and joyful, defeated and free, disarmed and satisfied. Indeed, how deep the Father’s love for us.
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
I am no prophet–and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid. -T. S. Eliot
Recently two friends and I started a side project – a sort of consortium of writers, thinkers, pastors, and most importantly, friends who are writing in a spiritually exhausted epoch. Mason King, Cody Kimmel, and I have begun to present topics before each other and take turns writing on them, rotating topics and mediums of literature to address these issues.
The rules are simple:
- Choose a topic.
- Post a response.
- That’s it.
Cody wrote a little description about the blog, explaining that (our) “desire is to call men to the only death that leads to life. We are the bloody fists knocking at the door, the rusty scythe tapping on the window, the imbecilic watchmen heralding in a storm everyone should see coming. We are the idiots telling tales of sound and fury, all with the hope that somebody somewhere will wake up from their slumber, wake up from this post-everything world, and step into the rest of the true Eternal Footman, Jesus Christ.”
We are also lovers of the word, hoping to become true writers telling the one true tale. Thus, this.
Join in on the discussion at The Eternal Footmen.
Margaret turns 27 today, so be sure to email, text, call, tweet, facebook, letter (can we make that a verb now?) her to let her know you care.
She is truly amazing and I’m so proud of her as a wife, student, athlete, friend, daughter, daughter-in-law, neighbor, counselor, avid grocery shopper, mentor, confused-sleeper-not-fully-narcoleptic-not-fully-insomniac, listener, beauty, comedian, soon-to-be-mother, and ultimately, a daughter of the one, true God.
Below is my response to the Eternal Footmen topic of the week:
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
Love. Action. Denial. Repentance. Community. Reverence. Ebenezer. Flight. Blood. Passover. Israel. Lamb. Prepared. Haste. Memorial. Deliverance. Sin. Promise. Sacrifice. Worship. Blessing. Death. People. Provision. Native. Family. One House. Remembrance. Bread. Slavery. Sign. Regularity. Strength. Fidelity. Redemption. Broken. First-Born. Fear. Power. Altar. LORD. Gift. Melchizedek. Witness. Consecration. Faithfulness. Restoration. Obedience. Grace. Unity. Submission. Disciples. Wine. Body. Wrath. Command. Covenant. Forgiveness. Church. Cup. Vine. Kingdom. Betrayal. Substitution. Gratitude. Drink. Atonement. Prayer. Suffering. Proclamation. Return. Hallelujah. Rejoice!
When Margaret was in college the first time around, she took a photography class. After that semester, the camera was tucked away in a drawer, presumably, for good. But then she got married.
I’ve always been fascinated by well-shot photos; they come from a tradition of well-told tales. And whether I’m telling a story or consuming one, it’s one of my favorite experiences.
The thing about stories is that they take time; time to tell and time to appreciate. Whether it be a weathered cathedral, a masterful painting, an entrancing photograph, or a rich story, I enjoy taking the time to observe the many details. If I know the story, I try to imagine being there; if I don’t, I try to create one.
My dad asked me, when I was seven years old, “What’s one thing God has blessed you with?” And I replied, “Imagination!”
Some days I find this frustrating and some days I find it life-giving. As wonderful as this world is, God has given me a wonder and longing for an even better world. In a sense I feel like I am appreciating things that will go unnoticed by the rest of the world. Yet, in another sense, I achingly long for the world to come.
There is a tension in which I think all Christians live: to love this world not more than the next, and yet long for the next without missing the present. Chesterton said,
“Can he hate it [this world] enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing? Can he look up at it’s colossal good without once feeling acquiescence? Can he look up at its colossal evil without once feeling despair?…Is he enough of a pagan to die for the world, and enough of a Christian to die to it?” (Orthodoxy: Image Books; Doubleday, 2001.)
How we respond comes from our identity. We are here for a reason, and should not lose sight of it for the details. And we are daily being beckoned by the world to come.
We are all telling a story with our lives. What story are you telling with your life? Why are you telling that particular story?
For fun, I’ve included the first roll of photos I took on Margaret’s old camera. I found the manual online and taught myself the mechanics, but I still have a ways to go, when it comes to form. Enjoy!
(remember, it’s not a digital camera and it was my first time shooting, so I had no idea what they were going to look like. play nice)