No other reality so liberates us, so fills us with pleasure, so causes love to well up from inside. And in so doing it frees us from every other terrible master we so easily find ourselves following.
And the bride of Christ will not have a begrudging betrothal to a man she barely knows or distractedly loves.
She shall be obsessed and possessed. Her gaze will only be upon the one who has infinite beauty and worth. The one who calls himself the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End.
To love and be loved. She shall require nothing more and nothing less.
To desire and be desired. And in this place she shall know what it means to be alive and to be free.
Jesus. He is and shall be. Our magnificent obsession.
A few thoughts after 29 years in this party we are all invited to…
“The man who seeks to gain his life will lose it, and the one who loses his life for me will gain it”
There is something that taps deeply into what it means to be a human in this statement. The depths of this statement will never be plumbed but here’s a thought it has sparked: this statement finds expression in the necessity for a human being to not take himself too seriously. I’ve been learning lately a little bit more about what this means. And I’ve thought that, ironically, it is the person who takes himself far too seriously that commits suicide.
And so life should and could be more about the fun that you have along the way. Rather than getting somewhere. The adventure is in the journey. And if I’ve forgotten or been too serious about it all to have fun and be silly then I’ve also missed out on a big part of God’s plan for me. Because in fact he is not mostly sad or mad – but I think that he is most glad and happy when he sees his son laughing and silly.
This is the paradox though – you need to invest yourself in all of your pursuits wholly and unreservedly, and yet have the freedom to hold it all lightly, to laugh at yourself and others along the way. Because actually, the one who has the freedom to be silly is the one who is able to invest himself and do the journey most effectively.
And in this party you can mope on the sidelines, or you can suck it up. You can throw your fear to the wind, and begin to step and move your body to the music of the dance-floor. And perhaps you might then throw caution to the wind. And whirl and spin and move and jump. And laugh into the air. Like a wildman. I know what I’m going to be trying to do every year after my 29th.
For there is a pulsing, flowing and freeing melody that a Man 2000 years ago danced perfectly to. And though today some are out of sync, it is a sound that emanates through all things that cannot be ignored. It is a beautiful sound. More beautiful, more alluring, more freeing, more life-giving than anything we have ever heard. And soon, so very soon, every heart and mind and soul and dog and tree and atom and quark of the universe will be dancing to it’s rhythms and flows.
The picture is the view out my room window. The winter solstice was a bit more than 2 months ago now and in the early mornings the light has been steadily increasing. My 6am wake-ups are met with a hint of light in the sky now.
We live in a day and an age where the light is increasing, and the darkness is also increasing. We are all called to be part of the increasing light. To be people of the light. I believe this should play itself out in a number of ways: We are to be people who physically open their windows, pull up their blinds, people who live in transparency and openness and authenticity. We are to go to bed early and wake up early. We are to be persistent and ruthless about shining the light into darkness in our hearts and in our relationships.
And we know that the kingdom of light is coming and is overtaking and overcoming all other kingdoms and darknesses. It’s dominion will be complete. That sounds scarey, but unlike any kingdom this earth has seen or any kingdom that man has tried to build, it’s not a kingdom that enforces itself top down in any sense – by the setting of rules and restrictions, standards and perfections. It is a beautiful kingdom that influences from the bottom up. There is an irresistible drawing and beckoning. And before we know our walls are melted, our hearts are yielded and we find ourselves submitted…and free. It is an internal revolution before the external. Hidden and unseen before it is displayed. And in that sense it is so beautifully authentic.
It is a kingdom that we are caught up in – there is no sense in which we could have conceived of any of it or in which we could make it happen. And yet it is a kingdom that invites full participation, full responsibility and fullness of desire.
And though we may struggle to see it at the moment, as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, the momentum is building and this kingdom comes.
This shall be the story of the ages
A story of how the God-King became a man
Out of extravagant love
Love that is stronger than death
Jealousy as unyielding as the grave
A God who is ravished by one look of his beloved
Who put on skin and frailty and mortality
To lay his life down
And in so doing
To purchase and claim for himself:
A pure and spotless bride
And if you were to look
Into the eyes of the man
On the cross
You would have seen
Eyes like flint
Filled with deep longing
Unmoving and steady
Locked on his bride
It was for one purpose for which
He choose to hang there:
And so the story of the ages continues
A story of how the God-King
Wins for himself a bride
Fully in love, and completely yielded
Not through any hint of coercion or force
Stronger than death
Jealousy unyielding as the grave
Gently but surely
Helplessly and so sweetly
Finds her heart awakened
And in response
She begin to love
Though ever so weakly
She begin to sing
Though ever so poorly
As surely as His love is strong
The bride finds her heart healed and tender
Full and free
And there shall be a song
That arises from a bride
Out of extravagant love
And earth to heaven shall sing:
The father’s heart is moved
No longer able to contain himself
He says to the son:
“It is time”
My heart was filled with a hope and a longing this morning, for I was reminded that our King is coming and He comes soon. The dawn is coming and the light is coming and the light (and life and love) will pierce every shred of darkness on this earth and in our hearts, seen and unseen.
I ride to homebush to do 5 x 5km laps on some Thursday mornings, and towards the fitnish of each lap, we ride east into the sunrise. The sunrise was timed this morning just so that it was dark on the 1st lap. On the 3rd lap, we glimpsed the orange/purple sky glow of an imminent sunrise. By the 4th lap, it was light. And the sunrise stirred something in me this morning.
And this is our hope is it not? That there is a man who is bringing about justice and redemption right now, and it shall be brought to completion when he returns a second time. This is our hope is it not? That this man is wiping and will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
This hope is not one that is lofty and disconnected from the reality of a suffering and hurting world, but it is one that is rooted in the reality of the incarnation. God chose to get all up in our mess. He chose not to stand back, but to get down and dirty. And the critical thing is that the God on the cross, is the same God who is at work THIS MINUTE, restoring and redeeming in every homicide, every disease, every addiction. This is who he is. He can’t help himself. He can’t help himself helping us – not just 2000 years ago, but this very minute. He is the same yesterday today and forever!
And the justice and redemption He is bringing about – is almost NEVER in the ways which we expect. If you would take a step back for a moment, this could only be seen as a good thing and I must trust that the eternal God who created the world and the 7 billion people alive today is infinitely wiser and has an infinitely better sense of justice than my 28 year old male heart and mind. And as I look back on my life, I see the brokenness, I see the sickness, I see my mistakes, I see my pride, but there is an overriding theme, almost like a golden tune that weaves in and through and over and around my fleshly life-song. It’s almost like a glorious dance and the result is so beautiful, not on any account of my dancing abilities, but totally on the ability of the leader.
And so my heart is filled with a hope and a longing today, for my life and the life of my friends, for Sydney, for Australia and New Zealand, and for this world. It may seem dark right now, but there is a faint trace of light on the horizon, and the light shall increase with frightening intensity. The Son-rise is coming. And it shall be glorious.