Some thoughts on truth and love

17 11 2012

I’ve been thinking this week about a phrase that Paul wrote in his letter to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus: “we will speak the truth in love”.

My thoughts were kick-started by listening to Shauna Niequist speaking about the ancient proverb, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” You can listen to her talk here.  She tells of a visit she made to a metal worker who showed her that you need two things to shape metal – heat and force. We can hammer metal with intense force, but if there’s no heat it’s just big noise and no movement. There must be heat before there can be shape.

Shauna then talks about the two things that are needed if we are to engage in the arena of personal growth – trust and truth. If there’s no trust, the words that are said, however truthful, will be just that – words, and probably hurtful ones at that; if there’s too much trust, the truthful words never get said.  I’ve been in both positions. Someone once said some very hurtful things to me and concluded with, “I’m just being honest.”  Yeah, right!  And wary of this trap, I’ve often failed to say things that I should have said because I didn’t want to upset the other person, even although leaving them where they were did them no favours. It’s critical to have the two in tandem if personal transformation is to take place.

So back to Ephesians.

Someone once said that the sense of  “we will speak the truth in love” in the original Greek (and who am I to argue!) is “truthing it in love”. I like that.  There’s the sense of continuation, not just a vomit of words, but a walking alongside another person, loving them, easing them into realisation of the truth and, as they say in the classier classics, “being there for them”. Isn’t that what you would want from a friend?

And to what end are we to engage in this often difficult path with others?  It’s so that we, and they, grow up – “God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other.”





What a morning!

8 04 2012

Happy Easter!

Keith and Kristyn Getty have written this wonderful tribute to Jesus.  Come, sing with me!

See, what a morning, gloriously bright,
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes, tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce, “Christ is risen!”
See God’s salvation plan,
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, “Where is He laid?”
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name;
It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty.
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow’r and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives: Christ is risen from he dead.

Read the rest of this entry »





Like wildflowers, we bloom and die

22 05 2011

Psalm 103 is one of my favourite poems of all time.  My father gave me away on  my wedding day as the congregation sang it, and it has maintained a special place in our family.

I love the juxtaposition of man’s frailty –

Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here

and the certainty of God’s faithfulness –

But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!

It also helps me to remember the good things that God has given me, especially when my self-talk is complaining or pitying.  The psalmist sings about love, forgiveness, salvation, satisfaction and renewal.  No wonder his response is one of praise!





Sealed with a kiss

30 04 2011

Yesterday’s Royal Wedding  was a great occasion and I was happy to celebrate the marriage of William and Kate. Theirs is the love story of the moment.

Great love stories touch us deeply, and one such is Song of Songs in the Old Testament.  (Was is coincidence that the WordLive planners allocated the Song of Songs to the days surrounding the royal wedding?!)  The Song is attributed to King Solomon, and so we may have another royal expression of love.

The Song proclaims an integrated picture of wedded love and sex and is “a convincing witness that men and women were created physically, emotionally, and spiritually to live in love.” (Eugene Peterson).  People have speculated that it is an allegory of the love between God and his people, or between Christ and the individual soul, but my own view is that it is a celebration of God’s good gift of sexual love.

Now back to the wedding…

One of the highlights of the service was the prayer which Prince William and his bride Catherine had written.  It expresses the love and joy that they have found in each other.  I am going to join them in making it my prayer for them.

~

In case this is all too serious for you, how about this for a gem – Knit your own Royal Wedding.  Buy the book on Amazon and get busy!

 





Clipboards, cardigans, and cuddles

23 02 2011

We sang a song in Sunday School when I was a child which had these words –

“God is always near me, hearing what I say,

knowing all my thoughts and deeds, all my work and play.”

I expect the songwriter wanted to reassure children of God’s care, but my God became a clipboard God.  I imagined him tracking me, watching me, writing a record of how I behaved – a sort of heavenly Asbo.

Psalm 32 showed me, many years later, that I had been carrying the wrong picture in my head – the slate is wiped clean, and God celebrates me by throwing “garlands of hosannas round my neck.”  Read the whole Psalm here in The Message.

~

I woke my granddaughter from her afternoon nap when she was about 15 months old.  She sat on my lap, all pink cheeked and tousled hair, slowly connecting with the world again.  Our cardigans both had zips with fabric tabs on them and she played with them alternately, zipping up and down.  There was no point to what she was doing, but we sat together for a time, zipping, talking baby talk, and enjoying each other.  I treasure that memory – her trust, her closeness, her just being with me.  It’s reminiscent of the picture Jesus paints in Luke 13:34 of his being like a mother hen wanting to gather her chicks to her to care for them. 

The sad part of what Jesus says comes at the end – “You wouldn’t let me.”

I wonder if prayer is like that sometimes.  God is longing for us to be with him, to talk with him, to enjoy his closeness…but we’re the stubborn ones who won’t let him…and he won’t force us.








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