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Thursday, February 3, 2011

In the Beginning God

 This is how it begins.  Before my story was.  Before old men spoke seriously to up-turned faces, or young women laughed at the account of the day. Before philosophy, religion, or culture, a tale has been unfolding.  It is the story and it flows from the imagination of one being. 

It begins, like all really good stories, with love. Most authors I suppose would like to think disaster or some mild tragedy might make a better start.  Don’t be fooled, this story has plenty of its own drama, but it begins simply and profoundly well, with love. It is a story of a Father.  A One, who has a kind of grace about Him, which betrays his much rougher countenance.  The first thing you notice is his beard.  Full, more than a little wild, but it seems perfectly honest and well kept.  Wilder are the bright eyes that seem always a bit happily surprised.   Still, you get the impression they had already seen it all.  Thick arms end in large calloused hands; each moving slowly but deliberately.

It is in watching these hands that the most is revealed.  Their constant attention is toward his family.  They never miss a moment to give its members encouraging gestures.  These same hands become so animated in dialogue as the family discusses its thoughts and dreams.  Although one who is given to day dreaming himself, he is quick to bring his reverie to an end in order to caress those he loves – his right hand falling almost always on the head of his son.

Above all his pride and most definite Joy is His Son.  He shares everything he has with him.  His bright boy is one of action and passion and he can’t help but smile as he looks at him.  What draws one’s attention to the favored son is something special, quite different really.  It might be his intelligence.  It seems he can do a million things at once.  But I think it is something of the intangible, a kind of singular purpose or sense of integrity.   There is an intensity that is almost disturbingly heroic. He is as wise and creative a son as his Father could ask for.  He obeys his Father before he is even asked, as testified to by the overt lack of weeds in the garden.   Yet what makes this good boy smile, what is his chief pleasure, is to enjoy every gift his father gives him.

Gratuity and free giving is a hallmark of this whole family, and perhaps pails only in comparison to their creativity.  In the midst of the artful bunch flows a kind of liveliness and creative energy like the personification of originality.  Their family is full and complete including a hearty, nurturing maternal affection.  They do not lack the fiery passion of wife for husband or the enchantment of a feminine laugh.  It is indeed out of that very mother heart that the son finds his strength; only begotten.  From his Father’s smile he receives daily his empowering Joy.  There is wisdom and depth of thought in that family.  There is contentedness with one another. There is humilty and self-sacrifice.  There is sustenance and refresment openly shared wherever they go. 

This tale is the story of God himself.  For he is three in One: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It compels a telling that goes on forever, love abounding from one moment to the next. It is in this very telling that love itself was first given substance. In this great soul relationship received its name.  Every best kind love and joy existed first and only in the midst of Him.  And in His overflow all things were made.

From the Father and head of our family we find identity, good will, strength, resolve, kindness, and nurture.  He is our boundary and provision.  From the son we learn submission, the ability to receive good things, and how to live with honor. He participates in everything and does so without control or selfishness. He is the spoken word of love and the wisdom of God abounds in him.  The relationship of God in Him self is also a person.  The three in one are known and know each other with and through one Spirit.  The Spirit connects fills and empowers everything that God does.  He is the life giver and teaches us how to birth new things.  He communicates heart to heart and searches the deep thoughts and feelings of God. 

Through profundity of that mind and from the generosity of his heart, that God chose for his life to be extended into a new thing. An Us. A world, with so many more tales to tell.  But above all he created an Us to know and experience the things of this heart.  He is building us up into and out of the life and love that flows out of his great story.  The tragedy and passion of the fall of humanity into loneliness and pain--the drama that so quickly unfolds in our story cannot even for a moment detract from the profound reality that this story belongs to Him.  If anything, our ridiculousness as broken humanity only throws this truth into high relief.  Let the kind intentions of the God of the universe encourage you for a moment.  God wrote your story.  But he did not write it arbitrarily or detachedly.  He wrote a story that is as much as about him as it is about you.  Because he wrote it you cannot un-write it.  No despair, no loneliness, no betrayal can come between you and His happy intentions.  He has written the romance of His lifetime and it comes into being from the very core of who he is.  So again, if you did not write it, you cannot mess it up.  God’s self is so big and strong and full, and so radically and treacherously safe that as His story unfolds you are free to be found in it.  To swim in it, to be ridiculously irresponsible in the very loveliness of it is the only proper response.  And though you are only part of the story you are the very heart of it.  As a matter of absolute fact, dear ones, you are defined by it. 

As His generosity hopefully begins to nibble at the corners of your soul, Brothers and Sisters, let us remember that this story has a point.  We were made as an overflow of perfect Spirit and life in God.  Any concept of humanity that is true and good has to come from an intimate knowledge of who this Person is. Out of the Son we were made to be good sons, who know how to trust our Father, and who go about his business. In imitating him we learn how to be mothers and Fathers and to spread love and integrity to others.  By His passionate longing we learn we are also meant to be the Bride of the Son. A little Holy romance will light up your life!

In the difficulty of what your life has become, make a choice even now to allow a little hope and faith to lift you out of the story inside your head.  If you will begin to let our Father’s strength and the Spirit’s life become, forgive me, your narrator; there is no limit for you. It is the truth, my Beloveds, that the Son, from whom our sonship is come, will do the will of his Father and bring transformation to your life.  This is to be your, Our story of the Father’s love. 

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