Minister’s Reflection – May 2, 2019
Rev. Dave Crawford
“The Wonder of God’s Love”
“I bless Thee, O most holy God, for the unfathomable love whereby Thou hast ordained that Spirit with spirit can meet and that I, a weak and erring mortal, should have this ready access to the heart of Him who moves the stars.”
* John Baillie, 1886-1960, Scottish preacher, theologian, academic, poet;
taught systematic theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York,
and Edinburgh University; instrumental in the creation of the World
Council of Churches. (Baillie’s “A Diary of Private Prayer”, translated
now into more than 12 languages, is a much sought-after collection of
glorious prayers, for personal or corporate use – highly recommended.)
Game of Thrones is all the rage! It’s now in its final season, at long last! If you’re a fan, it’s likely you’re really a fan! You may have named your first child (or your cat) Cersei, Arya, or Tyrian. You may try to convince your husband to adopt the name Jaime or Jon – LOL. I’m definitely a fan, except for the frequent, gratuitous “flesh” scenes which seem totally unrelated to the story and are somewhat overwhelming, frankly – I guess I’m a prude! It’s a great show but I do find myself forgetting names of characters, and plot-lines, places, etc. This could be due to age or to the fact that it was almost a year, I think, since the end of season 7 and the start of season 8. But I am now back into it, fully engaged, despite some elements that just cry out for “suspension of disbelief”. It is fantasy, after all, and thus one’s critiquing ought to be magnanimous and flexible it seems. I have yet to see episode 3, but maybe later tonight!
Game of Thrones taps into our sense of imagination and the possibility of powers and truths at work in the universe that we’ve never seen or experienced first hand.
Yet it also reminds us of virtues we wish were more a part of our lives, perhaps – things like honor, loyalty, humility, courage, sacrifice, and love. I’ve always felt that elevation of certain virtues through the Arts – theatre, opera, ballet, movies, etc. can actually remind we human beings of the core presence of such virtues within ourselves, even if we’ve neglected them, forgotten how important they are to our true selves. I sense that’s what happens for many GOT fans.
Another means of such artistically inspired recollection may be the gift of writing, poetry and prose. In re-reading Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” recently, I was stirred by such brilliant writing to recall the importance of compassion, kindness, humility, and courage.
Baillie’s words above point toward something we may neglect in life as we find ourselves consumed by life’s busyness – the “unfathomable love” of God who grants or rather wishes for us to be in contact – Spirit to spirit and, one presumes, spirit to Spirit; the God who gives access to we erring, flawed creatures, access to the One who “moves the stars”. It is sometimes a notion that tests the limits of our imaginations, challenges the boundaries of our intellects, and yet we’ve learned its claims since childhood, many of us. Unfathomable love – it is what gospel is all about, what the empty tomb proclaims.
Easter has come and gone, and in many ways the world remains the same – in turmoil! Yet, by the gift of an imaginative faith, and through the promise of an imaginative God, there is hope for us, always hope, if we can imagine and if we can remember. For God’s love is truly unfathomable, God’s grace toward humankind unbounded! Remember it. Imagine it. Share it.
Grace and Peace.
“O Holy Spirit of God, visit now this soul of mine, and tarry within it until eventide. Inspire all my thoughts. Pervade all my imaginations. Suggest all my decisions. Lodge in my will’s most inward citadel and order all my doings. Be with me in my silence and in my speech, in my haste and in my leisure, in company and in solitude, in the freshness of the morning and in the weariness of the evening; and give me grace at all times to rejoice in Thy mysterious companionship. Amen.”
– John Baillie