1:17 AM

The Natural Result of the Supernatural Love of God

so we just partied hearty because of the radical meeting of love and mercy in the Person of Jesus Christ. what's next? falling head over heels in love with Him again. i mean, we all love cinderella for a reason: the prince falls for the servant girl and marries her; Jesus sees us in our squalor and sin (wayyyyyyyyyyyyy more of a disadvantageous match than cinderella for the prince) and loves us, choosing to unite Himself to us in an irreversible way. the basic fairy tale is the story of our lives as christians. (no wonder cs lewis and jrr tolkien and george macdonald and stephen lawhead and their ilk weave such fabulous stories - they are echoes of truth!)

so that's why this last installment is appropriate i think.

next we'll talk about the kingdom of God. i think twill be fun. :)
Be Thou My Vision
be Thou my Vision, o Lord of my heart.
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
waking or sleeping, Thy presence my Light.

be Thou my Wisdom and Thou my true Word,
i ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father; i Thy true son.
Thou in me dwelling, and i with Thee one.

be Thou my Battleshield, Sword for my fight.
be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight,
Thou my soul's shelter, Thou my high Tower.
raise Thou me heavenward, o Power of my power.

riches i heed not, nor man's empty praise.
Thou mine inheritance now and always.
Thou and Thou only first in my heart.
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won!
may i reach heaven's joys, o bright heaven's Son!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
still be my Vision, o Ruler of all.
interesting thought, isn't it, to ask God to be not just what we see ("fix your eyes on Jesus") but how we see what we see...
stanza 1 - ok, so we start with the basics: very lovey-dovey language about God being the "Lord of my heart" and nothing else mattering except Him and thoughts of Him being the best thoughts we have ever and all that. it's really quite superb, actually, and all entirely called for. but then we get this funky twist - "waking or sleeping, Thy presence my Light." i think what we're seeing here is the lyricist's attempt at demonstrating to us the constancy of God to hold our hand and lead us down the way we are going, whether we are awake to appreciate it or not (i'm thinking abraham and the whole convenant thing a la genesis 15). while clearly metaphorical, i don't think it's purely metaphorical, and for those of us who have awful dreams, it certainly is reassuring to know God is present and shedding His Light on us.
stanza 2 - four aspects of my relationship with God: a) what He brings to the way i think about things comes from the second part - His Word; b) God has eternally bound Himself to me - we are now inseparable (but not indistinguishable - it's more like best friends and less like hinduism); c) i am adopted into the family. i don't just get treated like His child - i am one; and d) the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in my heart (close connection to b, particularly in the form of manner and means).
stanza 3 - i think it's interesting that we never sing this one in churches anymore. i guess it's too militant for most people's comfort levels to allow. still, i think it's beautiful. not only is God here depicted as our defense and our offense, not only as a place to run and hide when we are routed or defeated or need to rejuvenate and rebuild, but also as our "Dignity" and "Delight." are there two more misunderstood concepts in contemporary american society? i guess "love." anyway, when God is my Dignity - when Jesus is my Righteousness, in other words - that makes me radically confident. when God is my Delight (in piper-speak, when God is my joy), i am radically unshakeable because my hopes to be fulfilled rest on Him. and the last line? i think we're asking about God bringing us closer to His heart and acknowledging Him as the Source of our power.
stanza 4 - with a God Who is our Dignity and our Delight, who needs to freak about cashflow or street cred? especially when He is also our Inheritance. (check out the whole "levites get God as their portion" thing in numbers and deuteronomy. seeing as we are now priests before God, that would be foreshadowing the same relationship between God and us!) with all this laid out before us, it is easy to see the progression - that God is my treasure, and that mammon doesn't even take a backseat to God (it's freaking hitchhiking at this point) - makes perfect sense.
stanza 5 - thanks to stephen lawhead, now i think of king arthur every time i think of the "high King of heaven" because his arthurian novels talk in that language. given that this song came from that sort of gaelic culture, i'm assuming that there is a valid connection: the high King was the absolute head guy - his the first and last word on every issue; his the heart that bleeds for all the people under his care; his the responsibility for shepherding them in every aspect of human life. sounds an awful lot like Jesus, eh? and then to think that this Person Who is so important and responsible would be the One to obtain victory for me... blows the mind to say the least.

how can we not prize Him more highly than anything? how can we not be utterly loyal to Him? how can we not willingly follow Him anywhere, in awe that He's still walking with us, hand in hand, leading us where He wants us to go?

this is the call of the gospel - be bound to God forever in the most epic of romances and battles and adventure stories.