perfect love

given the day it was yesterday, i suppose it is only natural that love be the thing on my mind. and given myself, it is equally natural that it not be in the same manner as most everyone else.

the thing most prevalent on my mind is how poorly that i love God. like every other christian, i am quick to say that i love God, no hesitation. but when i actually look at my life, without the voiceover of proclaimed love, i fear that one would have some serious difficulty drawing that conclusion.

Jesus was pretty clear, when asked what the greatest commandment was, when he said, "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ the second is this: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) these are the compulsories, the basics that we must accomplish before we can move on to the other things. what boggles my mind is how, when it is all so clear, we humans so often try to move on to loving others, before we master what is clearly laid out for us as the basics.

this has been my struggle.

then, in a brilliant moment of divine 'coincidence', just before i fell sleep last night, i picked up walter brueggemann's book, prayers for a priviledged people, and read the entry entitled perfectly love. i am not sure anything could more perfectly encapsulate how i am feeling.
we pray, as often as we meet,
that we might "perfectly love you."
indeed, we have been commanded from the beginning,
to love you with all our hearts and
all our souls and
all our minds and
all our strength.

we have pledged to love,
pledged in our prayers and in our baptism,
in our confirmations and with our best resolve.

but we confess...
we love you imperfectly;
we love you with a divided heart,
with a thousand other loves
that are more compelling,
with reservation and qualification,
and passion witheld and
devotion impaired.

we do not now come to pretend before you,
but to confess that we do not,
as we are,
love you perfectly;
we do not keep your commands;
we do not order our lives by your purpose;
we do not tilt toward you as our deepest affection.

but we would...
we would love you more perfectly,
by the taste of bread become your flesh,
by the swallow of wine become your blood,
by the praise of our lips and beyond our usual reasoning,
by the commandments that are not burden but joy to us,
by embracing your passion for neighbors,
by your ways of justice and peace and mercy,
by honoring the world you have made
and all creatures great and small,
by self-care that knows you as our creator.

lead us past our shabby compromises
and our cheap devotion;
lead us into singleness of vision
and purity of heart,
that we may will one thing,
and answer back in love to your great love to us.

free us from idolatries,
and our habits of recalcitrance,
tender our hearts,
gentle our lips,
open our hands,
that we may turn toward you fully
toward your world unguardedly.

let us bask in your freedom
to be fully yours, and
so trusting fully our own.
we pray through the Lord Jesus who loved you
singularly, perfectly, fully--to the end.


michelle said...

What a powerful message. One that I needed today. Thanks, Suzi.

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