Poetry of Love part 2

12 10 2010

What is the true journey between the crib and the crypt?  Why are there seasons of life in a tunnel of experiences?  Is not our life to be punctuated with shafts of insight that take us deeper into who we are and why we are here?  I think so.

In a culture that has trivialized the sacred, commercialized the occasion and sentimentalized the most lovely, there is within each of us a longing for the prophetic word that will give us the reason for our life.  Even the most hardened cynic, worn down by failure, confusion and unreached dreams, has times of deep yearning for answers to their very existence.

You are a spiritual, physical, emotional and mental creation of God.  Your body, your mind, your spirit, your emotions are the stanzas of a poem spoken into existence by God.  Every cell, chromosome, bone, every dimple, mole and cowlick is part of the poem of God.  You are His work, His dream, His thought, His heart. 

All of us were penned before the foundation of the world.  We were thought up in the heart of the Master Poet before our exit out of the birth canal.  The Bible is crystal clear: “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4)  He was dreaming of, thinking through and musing over you millennia before you were created.  The poet expresses it deeply, 

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works

Which You have done;

And Your thoughts toward us

Cannot be recounted to You in order;

If I would declare and speak of them,

They are more than can be numbered.

Psalms 40:5

God, The Master Poet, has thought about you innumerable times in creative ways that have yet to be discovered.  His greatest work is the beauty of his handiwork in each image bearing soul.  A sonnet penned by the hand of God, written with the ink of love.

We are poems “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10), designed and written for the ultimate good work of love.  And as with any loving relationship, there is an unpredictability and ever-present possibility of pain and disappointment involved.  C.S. Lewis once said, “Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.”[i]  In speaking of God’s love, John Eldredge writes, “But God does give it, again and again, until He is literally bleeding from it all.  God’s willingness to risk is astounding—far beyond what any of us would do were we in His position.”[ii]

A love relationship with God and others is risky business.  God sent His Son to risk it all on you and me.  The ultimate poetry of love was God creating His Son in the womb of His creation in order that He might die under the hands of creation for the ultimate purpose of a rescue mission.  Francis Frangipane has said, “Rescue is the constant pattern of God’s activity.”  This is why Jesus came.  Jesus proclaims His mission to us when he said,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

Because He has anointed Me

To preach the gospel to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

(Luke 4:18-19)

A poetry of love first dreamed in the heart of God, expressed by His Son, wordsmithed upon our heart.  We are the poetry of a warrior poet, a passionate God who has risked it all for us.  We are His collection of poems, each one of us, unique and complex, written for a purpose.  He has come to rescue and redeem His marred poems.  His rescue mission involves a deepening love and more extravagant relationship—a poem being written.

[i] Quoted from Wild at Heart by John Eldredge p. 32

[ii] Ibid.

Poem – Afraid

4 10 2010

A few people in the congregation have requested the poem that was read during the weekend services on September 25-26.  Here is the intro followed by the poem:

Ben Fielding and Lee Quan (pronounced chwan) were college roommates at Harvard University.  Ben, a professing Christian, invited Quan, an atheist, to a campus ministry meeting, where Quan accepted the Lord.  After college, Quan went back to China to become a professor, and Ben became a high powered business man.  Quan soon found that his Christian faith made it impossible for him to get a teaching job in China.  Ben became enamored with his success and walked away from the Lord, divorced his wife and pursued the American Dream.

Their paths crossed 20 years later when Ben was sent to China on a business research project.  During Ben’s visit, Quan was arrested for leading an underground church and thrown in jail.  The subsequent months found Ben fighting to get his old friend out of prison.  Quan, rather than trying to get out, rejoiced in the privilege of suffering for the sake of Christ.  Through Quan’s witness, Ben recommitted his life to the Lord. On Ben’s last visit to the jail before he was deported from China, Quan quoted this poem to Ben…

Afraid? Of what?

To feel the spirit’s glad release?

To pass from pain to perfect peace,

The strife and strain of life to case?

Afraid? Of that?

Afraid? Of what?

Afraid to see the Savior’s face

To hear His welcome, and to trace

The glory gleam from wounds of grace?

Afraid? Of that?

Afraid? Of what?

A flash, a crash, a pierced heart

Brief darkness, Light, O Heaven’s art!

A wound of His counterpart!

Afraid? Of that?

Afraid? Of what?

To enter into Heaven’s rest

And yet to serve the Master blessed?

From service good to service best?

Afraid? Of that?

Afraid? Of what?

To do by death what life could not –

Baptize with blood a stony plot,

Till souls shall blossom from the spot?

Afraid? Of that?

– E.H. Hamilton