Tuesday, October 18, 2011
So many stories have been told of the damsel in distress ~ the princess being rescued ~ the bride and the bridegroom. Often I wonder, how on earth are the Sons of Adam meant to relate to this great love story? I get how they can relate to the rescuer at times ~ how they can embrace their Godliness and His likeness and begin to see themselves as the warrior ~ as the knight. But how can they possibly become the Bride? How can they embrace this story of the prince rescuing the princess as though they are the ones in need of rescuing?
It is a difficult thing to conceive of God not being a man, particularly when the most trusted source we have for His description refers to Him as a Him and as a Father. I think most of us accept that God is genderless and that He indeed did make both Adam and Eve in His image. So then, it is logical to conclude that a woman equally reflects the nature of the Creator as does a man.
So if our Maker and Saviour and the Lover of our souls is revealed to us in both Adam and in Eve, then would it be possible to accept that a man could have a relationship with the Maker and relate to God at times as though He is a She?
I look around at the religion we have formed to contain our Maker and I see that we have been afraid of this idea. Mystics and non-Christian spiritualists don't seem to have a problem with it all and, in fact, that may well be one of the reasons that the notion has been shunned by the organized church we have today.
The reality is that God has created woman in "His" image as well and there is a great mystery that lies in that fact. That God is fierce and yet gentle ~ a warrior and kind ~ valiant and soft. God is Nurturer ~ El Shaddai ("many breasted one"). Deeply passionate and intuitive ~ affectionate and inviting.
Some of the great worship leaders of our generation have written about the great romance between God and the sons of Adam. David Ruis wrote, reflecting on King Solomon's words, "Let me know the kisses of Your mouth, let me feel Your embrace, let me smell the fragrance of Your touch, let me see Your lovely face." Kevin Prosch quotes King David when he writes, "I bow down and kiss the Son."
There is an intimacy and abandonment which I believe will come as the Sons of Zion begin to realize that their Maker ~ the Lover of their souls ~ the One who calls to them in the midnight hour and from the depths ~ is the Beautiful One ~ the fulfillment of their hearts' cry. The one to nurture their broken bodies and souls. The one to ravish them and love them back to life.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The reality is that most of us have constructed a socially acceptable persona that moves in and out of relationships, grocery stores, church meetings, and bank line-ups every day for most of our lives. He or she is the one that most people see and love, and whom we to some degree despise. Because others have loved him or her but not our true selves. And God forbid they should ever meet that wretch.
Okay, so it might not be that dramatic. Not for all of us. But the point is, all of us have an inherent need to be loved, understood, and accepted. Yes, by others around us but, I believe, primarily by our Maker.
So that's where it can get tricky. Because we come to Him hiding inside of our persona and try to present the most acceptable version of ourselves. We know that He can see all the rest but we just don't really want to go there. If we do, it's at a scheduled time and place where we bare our soul, admit to our weakness, and pray that He would rescue us from our wretchedness. If we have realized that we are wretched, that is.
You see, the more I live, and the more people I meet and really get to know, the more I realize that all of us are deformed in some way. Neglected as children, abandoned by friends, abused, forsaken, betrayed . . . these experiences mess up the physical development of our minds, and we end up operating out of a place of mental and emotional dysfunction without really even understanding why. We just try to cope.
Sooner or later, we decide that we do want to meet the Healer and we do want to spend the rest of our lives finally resting in His presence. So we go about the business of getting ourselves fixed. Presentable. Some of us even realize that He alone can heal us and so we ask for His mercy and trudge along, hoping that one day we will finally arrive and earn a place at His table.
What we don't realize, though, is that He loves us just as we are, in all of our brokenness and dysfunction. He doesn't love us for who we should be but exactly as we are.
There is a story in the book of Samuel about a man named Mephibosheth. He was the son of Jonathan, and grandson of the late King Saul. David had defeated Saul and was now king. In the old days, if someone was de-throned, their family would normally be killed off in order to prevent any kind of uprising. When the news arrived that David was coming back to take the throne, Saul's family split, including Mephibosheth, who was just a boy at the time. In her haste to escape, his nurse dropped him and both of his feet were crippled.
Years later, King David inquires as to whether there are any remaining relatives of Jonathan (with whom he had been close friends.) He is told that Jonathan's crippled son still lives. David calls for Mephibosheth who, upon his arrival, prostrates himself before the king and begs for mercy.
Rather than have Saul's remaining descendant killed, David gives him land, a home, and, believe it or not, a place at his table.
From that day on, Mephibosheth eats at the King's table regularly, along with David's own sons, as a guest of honour.
In many ways, we are like Mephibosheth. We have been broken from when we were young. Oftentimes, because of the choices of others and at no fault of our own. We spend so much time trying to make ourselves worthy of His love while the whole time, He is offering us a place at His table just as we are.
I believe that true healing comes only after we have not only accepted but embraced the love which our Father has freely given us. It is only once we have risen to our feet before Him and followed Him to take our place as His sons and daughters, crippled feet and all, that we will be in a position to receive the true healing of our hearts and minds.
This is a difficult thing to do, and perhaps even more difficult than it sounds. For to rise and take a seat as the guest of honour at the table of the King of all kings requires humility. Our carefully crafted persona has no place here. Only our true selves are invited. The broken one. The shameful one. The one we have hidden for our whole lives.
The beautiful one. The chosen one. The one for whom He has died.
He calls, "Come. Dine with me. I have prepared a place for you. Your time to rest has finally come."