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 Post Post subject: Devotions - Thursday, August 9th, 2007
Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 12:11 pm 
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Hello my friends. I have missed this.

Forgive me for my absence. I have been far too busy and far too tired. Now is a time of backing off from the busyness; a time of self-inspection; a time of re-aligning my heart to that of the Master’s; a time of “circling the wagons” around the family; a time of renewing our relationships.

In this time of slowing down for a breath and an opportunity to “smell the flowers” I am also preparing to depart for a horrible voyage that I would rather avoid; a mis-adventure fraught with pain and discovery. By the means of this note I am extending an invitation to you to attend me on this voyage. Do not feel obligated to join in and you may want to hear the details before saying yes. There is a cost.

It seems the more years I accumulate the more I realize my own deficiencies in many of the areas of my life but there is no greater deficiency than that of my heart. I know the love of this world. I know its limits. I know its failures. I also know that I have always mistaken this love to be the same as God’s. I have seldom marked the difference between the holy and the common in this thing of love and as such have failed to love as I need to love. In truth, I do not know what love is; not the Father’s love.

Oh, do not misunderstand my words. I know all the proper terminology, I know the language of the Bible, I know all the religious talk but I also know enough to know that this does not qualify me as one who knows what love is. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son”… Fine sounding words that we shout at the world while we crucify each other with hurtful words that strip away any significance that the former may have had. The reality of our condition, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” However, I want to try to keep a good distance between what we are and what we could be. I desire with all my heart to stay away from criticizing because criticizing is a form of judgment and none of us can afford to stand in a position of judgment.

I desire more than anything to understand the significance and impact of these simple words, “Love each other as I have loved you”. Jesus has set for us the pattern of love we are to follow. Do you understand the significance of this? Do I? I need to switch from the invitation to the actual voyage. I may speak to you but understand it is not from the point of lecture or even teaching but instead the working out of things by “talking” out loud. I am weak and I approach this voyage from a point of weakness. I need to discover the secret of these words, their depth and their power to transform. I need to know …

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Paul’s words. Paul’s desire. A desire I share. Lord, be my guide. Strengthen me that I will set aside my fears. Help me, please, to open my heart to hurt, pain and sorrow that I will discover the reality of the intimacy of your love. Open my eyes that I can see, see you, see your love, see the truth, see the real beauty. Help me to let everything else fall away.

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

I know this is significant beyond my current understanding. I can walk around the edges of this. I can see it. I have heard and read many wonderful and eloquent things said about it. But what are words without action? What is faith without action? What is life without your love? Not just without love; without YOUR love. “As I have loved you.” How have you loved me? Oh, I know, I know; the Cross. I do not downplay the significance of the greatest moment in the history of man, but is it real to me? Do I understand what this means? Do I understand the significance of the garden?

Let me tell you where I am in all of this:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

So I can at least recognize that there is no significance to my life and service at this moment; but I want there to be significance. I can at least be honest about my deficiency. I am not sure many of us are. I do know that what I have mistaken as your love is nothing more than a polished form of the love we find in the world. I know this because I am still trying to love with the sickly love I find in myself. I appreciate what you have done for me, my family and my friends but I think I am failing to respond to you in the depth of what you are hoping I will discover. I know this because when I look at your form of love, perfect love, love without self, I know that I can’t recall seeing that in anyone else that I know. I think we draw close but as the intimacy begins to overwhelm us we allow fear to take over and we bring up our version of your love.

I hear this and I know it is the depth you hope we will respond to you with:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

People tell me this is impossible because this is a feeble attempt to describe your perfect love. Then why these words? “Love each other as I have loved you.”

And the words that haunt my every step: “Love never fails.” Oh how I have failed. This is how I know that I am not possessed by your love. I will never be satisfied with anything other than a full possession. As I seek greater understanding of these things I ask that you would transform the words so that they will become more than they have ever been; that they would explode in me, transforming me, recreating me; every bone, muscle, blood vessel, thought. Give me a new language; a language born in the intimacy of you. It is my desire …

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

To be honest, I do not think I will believe I am truly possessed simply by how I show you this love. I think the proof I am looking for is in my love for those you have given me to love; family, friends and strangers. Until I have learned how to allow your words to transform my love for them I do not believe that I am honestly in love with you. I may be in love with the idea of you. I may be in love with the significance of what you have done. But what about the intimate you? Is it even reasonable to ask? I think so. In fact, I think it is the most significant thing you want us to do; to discover; to know; to imitate.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

So let me begin with this desire. Make it my only desire. To love you is not a difficult thing. To love you in the manner of this world is easy. But the emptiness of my heart tells me that this is not the love you want. You want something more; something greater; something familiar. You want us to love you with the same love you have loved us with. And we know we are possessed by this love when we live, not talk, as Jesus lived; “live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

The desire is a beginning. Don’t let me go!

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Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:07 pm 
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Wow, it's good to see you back again, blipadouzi. :) It's nice to hear that you missed doing this!


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