Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21st

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love toward you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.



I'm going to try to put this into words and say that I love to hold you in my arms. I used to be so jealous of Mary I thought it must be a sin and was so much ashamed of this I could barely confess it to you, especially this time of year- the favored and blessed! The virginal girl giving birth to God himself- the one to hold you, comfort you, care for you but that feeling passed away a long time ago, because I do all those for you as well; in my own way, I get to be like Mary too.

And how I love to care for you! How I love to cradle you close, your head in my arms, and pour my love out to you like a lullaby without sound, simply from every part of who and what I am, rising up like mist from the ground of my being, which is after all, you.

You’ve come into my heart and I carry you there, cherished and close. In some other place, perhaps you are rejected, hurt or scorned, but in my heart, you are treasured, adored, the source of deepest and eternal delight.

At first, you were only a promise there, a rumor, a whisper. I was carrying within me it seemed nothing but sin and how you could remain there I couldn’t understand.

But you broke those bars of disbelief by the manifest fact of your presence, your love consuming all the half-thoughts that held me and I couldn’t turn away, because where I can I go from you when you live with me?

Each day I demonstrate my love for you in practical ways in the monastery of my life, through I feel like it’s never enough and I long to do something great to make up what I lack. I stay out of obedience right where you’ve rooted me, and pray, because it’s pride in me to feel guilt over the grandiose things I feel certain I should be called to do that you haven’t asked me to, while overlooking the actual acts of love that are mine to offer to the precious people you've given into my care.

I have seen you clad in incandescent strength and beauty as gold mail, crowned with joy like a flame, overflowing with laughter, fearless and shining. At the slightest lift of your right hand all those heavenly hosts that surround you would lay their life down and count it all joy. The edges of that sword you hold are sharp enough to burn right between soul and spirit, sundering any subtle lie from its captive prey, and I know without doubt that every other crown ever worn was only a shadow and sign to point back to your throne.

Perhaps it's undignified to speak of lullabies to the king, but it's close to Christmas, and I think that is your secret you share with the very young at heart- that you are the child of God and one hidden meaning of this is that you are the one that is held, cherished. You, the rose of Sharon, lamb-hearted and dove-spirited, held always in the arms of Abba and born of a virgin, the darling of the Trinity clothed in humanity, the very image of all that is good, the first born of a new creation.

But when you are with me, the glory you wear is that of the robe woven all of one piece, and you don’t mind the hovel that is my heart. You are accustomed to small and humble spaces. I spread out my worship like a welcome mat and I crown you with kisses and you are mine to adore. I am your garden of aloes, frankincense, honey and myrrh, grown by your hand; all these riches you’ve given me that is my pleasure to give back to you.

The wonder of this never leaves me alone. That I myself am your home! Who am I? I have done nothing to earn this. What can I give in exchange? Those waters are without price.

But there is one thing I can give, and that is simply to say yes. It's as though I stand in paradise and which would I choose? Shall I live in your presence or earn death? Shall I die trying to be what you made me? That death has already been undone. Oh my darling, how I delight to sit in the shade of your opened arms upon the tree of your life offered up! I accept. Let it be unto me according to your word.

Now I'm saying to you and now I'm praying-

You came once
and each day since you ascended
has been a thousand years long in the waiting-

So come here,

so come now,

Come down from the heavens of consummate love,
you forever begotten

and be seen incarnate.

Come like the colors of dawn revealing the sky
hidden by the dark of a thousand year’s night
shattered by light flashing forth from every horizon.

Lift up your heads!

The king of glory has passed though those gates
and made the way open.

The prince of life has made death his captive
and become your redemption drawing close.

Come forth,
desire of nations

throwing open the door to the house,
a thief in the night come to plunder
the horror, the sorrow, the tears.

Run under your rod the idols that haunt us
and shatter them in pieces-

They are as nothing, as a non existent thing.
We shall look for them and not find them,
even the memory of them is taken.

Release your beloved creation from agony, mute
long suffering in labor under blind dominion.

All the bones of your children are piling up in layers of ages
All the blood in the ground saturated, crying out-
How long, Oh Lord, how long?

Break this world finally free of its long and aching futility

let it shout in one great cry of jubilee-

Let it be born again in the fullness of purpose.

The waters of life will flow out freely
through the open gates of forever,
and we will see your face.

Come, Lord Jesus,

Come quickly.