Wednesday, July 09, 2008

"Old Stone Church - love" from L.L. Barkat

A wonderful day, for L.L. and her beloved. Her wedding day! It was a long time coming, as she more than tested her lover, and his love remained strong, steady and true, in spite of all the ups and downs their relationship went through. At last they were ready to leave the wintry past behind, and venture into the aura and beauty, as well as wildness of springtime (Song of Songs).

Again, L.L. is admirable in sharing her struggles. After all she went through in growing up, seeing both her mother and father divorce and remarry over and over, as well as all the rest, it's little wonder she was not able to bring herself to walk that aisle at Old Stone Church to meet her beloved until after nine years of dating, nearly half of them rocky years in their relationship.

L.L., in this most sacred chapter from her book, reflects on the impact the love from her beloved has had and continues to have in helping her open herself to the love of God in Jesus. She draws especially from Song of Songs, and from Iain Provan's commentary, which I've also found intriguing. Solomon's love is a winter love, the shepherdess is just one among many. But her true lover's love is aflame only for her. On L.L. and her beloved's wedding rings this Scripture reference is engraved.

In my life, love came hard, as I kept getting turned down one by one. I, like L.L., did have deep inward issues to work through, though different than hers. When Deb and I became serious and married, it was a good start. But waylayed by my own self-centeredness and lack of understanding towards her, and of God's will for me, and for us. But God's grace has and continues to see us through and we are now in a growing relationship of love, which reminds me of God's love for us. It doesn't come easy, or without hard and hidden places not being touched and transformed gradually by that never ending grace. That is the way God's love is, and something of how love is to be lived out among us, God's children, in our marriages and friendships.

L.L. gives us a view of love which draws us in, in wonder and awe of its beauty. Of course this love comes from the God who is love, and is our Lover. The imagery of God as Lover is what L.L. is most drawn to when she thinks of her relationship with God. And her beloved was at least in large part by God's grace, how she found her way there.

In the end, as L.L. reminds us, it is Jesus who looks forward (perhaps evident here) to a wedding that is yet to come, with us in him, at the wedding supper of the Lamb. In the meantime, we seek to live faithfully and holy to him, in our relationships in this world, as we look forward to that day. A day in which in that love, we will truly "be brought to our knees before Jesus." (page 80)

Great "discussion questions" at the back of the book, particularly poignant and penetrating on this chapter (pages 158-159).

1. Stepping Stones - conversion
2. Christmas Coal - shame
3. Tossed Treasures - messiness
4. Heron Road - suffering
5. Sword in the Stone - resistance
6. Howe's Cave - baptism
7. Palisade Cliffs - doubt
8. Holding Pfaltzgraff - inclusion
9. Indiana Jones - fear

Next week: Goldsworthy's Wall - sacrifice


Anonymous said...

i like this chapter about love.
to hear about some of her walk in finding different meanings for the word and what it became to her life in God and in marriage. i is so good to have the Holy Spirit change our hearts and minds and give us new meanings and seasons to this walk.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. Yesterday and very recently in reflecting on love and its meaning, I was not only struck by the sacredness of this love as L.L. describes it here, but also of the importance of knowing love more through the love of God in Jesus.

Different kinds of love, but all should be seen and lived out, somehow in this special Love from which all loves flow. Surely helps them come closer to realize their true meaning as well as become richer.

lorenzothellama said...

Very nice story Ted. Living with someone is really difficult and I've made a mess in the past. But who hasn't?

Ted M. Gossard said...

You ought to get the book. Really a nice, worthwhile, for me a great read, and I think for anyone. You see her life through it, but it hits on important aspects of our lives, in every chapter.

But yes, I've done my share as well. God has actually protected me from the worst results that could have come out of it. And God has made it so I must work through the issues, in my case.

Yet that ends up being the case for us all, that one way or another, we have to deal with it. The way L.L.'s parents dealt with it was by going from one new spouse or partner to another. Yet didn't really get to the heart of the problem, really.

I like L.L.'s honesty in her book, and it's evident on her blog as well.

Hope you and yours are doing well over there across the pond. It was wonderful weather here, yesterday. Good, as always to hear from you.