Thursday, May 28, 2015

Psalm 32

Blessed is he whose unrighteousness is forgiven, & whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord im puteth no sin, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

For while I held my tongue, my bones consumed away through my daily complaining. For thy hand is heavy upon me day and night, and my moisture is like the drought in summer. I will acknowledge my sin unto thee; and mine un righteousness have I not hid. I said, I will confess my sins unto the Lord; and so thou forgavest the wickedness of my sin.

For this shall every one that is godly make his prayer unto thee, in a time when thou mayest be found; but in the great waterfloods they shall not come nigh him. Thou art a place to hide me in; thou shalt preserve me from trouble. Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.

I will inform thee, and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt go; and I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not like to horse and mule, which have no understanding, whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle, if they will not obey thee. Great plagues remain for the ungodly; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord, mercy embraceth him on every side.

Be glad, O ye righteous, and rejoice in the Lord; and be joyful, all ye that are true of heart. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sonnets from the Portuguese XXXII

         Sonnet XXXII

The first time that the sun rose on thine oath
To love me, I looked forward to the moon
To slacken all those bonds which seemed too soon
And quickly tied to make a lasting troth.
Quick-loving hearts, I thought, may quickly loathe;
And, looking on myself, I seemed not one
For such man’s love!—more like an out-of-tune
Worn viol, a good singer would be wroth
To spoil his song with, and which, snatched in haste,
Is laid down at the first ill-sounding note.
I did not wrong myself so, but I placed
A wrong on thee.  For perfect strains may float
’Neath master-hands, from instruments defaced,—
And great souls, at one stroke, may do and doat.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Way of Sorrow

"But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

Where is the Lord's glory revealed...this glory into which we are being changed?  Not in displays of power and might and authority.  Not in miracles.  Not in acts of usurpation.  None of these are the means by which the glory of God is made known to us.  He shows his true self on the cross.  In his suffering and taking upon himself the burden of all our absorbing all the wrath our rebellion laying down his life that we might THIS the fullness of his glory is made manifest.  As we look upon him there, we begin to understand that for us too, this is the path by which we are transformed from one degree of glory to the next, until his glory - the Imago Dei - is made manifest in us.

This is a hard saying.  We are not inclined to choose suffering.  Who wouldn't rather rest in the garden of ease than trudge the way of grief?  Yet the place of ease is not the place where we learn patience, long-suffering, and abiding love.  These virtues are formed in us as we enter hard places of fear and we walk in sorrow and absorb the hurts that others inflict on we grieve over the pain we have imposed on we encounter disappointment, loss, injustice, loneliness, sickness, failure, and death.  

He sends us into the wilderness "to test us, to prove us, and to show us what is in our hearts."  It is his unrelenting love, his commitment to capture our hearts, his determination to see us re-made, that compels him to lead us down the "via dolorosa."  Suffering is the mirror that reveals our hearts: our loves, our motivations, our commitments.  When light reaches and exposes those dark corners, we can no longer hide from others or ourselves.  Our tendencies to escape, to fight, to protect or justify ourselves, to trust in our own strength and our own schemes more than in our Saviour...these all rise to the surface where we are forced to confront the truth about ourselves.  This then brings us face to face with  the truth about the God who not only sends US into the wilderness to be transformed, but who entered the wilderness HIMSELF so that he might transform our mortal lives into glorious - weighty and beautiful - reflections of his own self-giving love.

He is making good on his promises, not in spite of, but by way of our grief.  He remembers us.  He loves us enough not to abandon us to our own shallow peace in a garden of ease.