And the LORD said (to Moses), “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” - Exodus 33
It was inevitable that I'd eventually post another picture of our two-week-old grandson, David Henry. First off, he's undeniably adorable - that's a given. Then I love the image of Rebekah holding him. It was taken at the airport as she was leaving last Friday, so he was 12-days-old at the moment.
I'm also very much conscious that this blog has a wider reader base than just people interested in family photos! The stats this past month have told that story very clearly.
FLUMC Connection: Additionally, placing a link to this page on the United Methodist Conference website reminds me that my overarching interest in "The Fully Engaged Christian Life" is always the most consistent lens that I look through when I write.
God is most gracious: But this is a post that sits easily in both dimensions - personal and public. Looking at the photograph this morning I thought of a hymn I haven't sung in decades. The words have been lodged deep in my consciousness since I was a child. The first verse goes like this:
I've found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him.
And round my heart still closely twine
Those ties which naught can sever,
For I am His, and He is mine,
Forever and forever.
A Glimpse into Eternity: I have loved David Henry since the moment I learned he was on the way. I loved him "ere [he] knew [me]." But where does such an ability to love someone you don't know (yet so completely) come from? It has to be an echo of the kind of love God has had for me (and you) since God first imagined us. It has to be a glimpse into eternity.
C.S.Lewis (one of my favorite mid-20th-century authors) wrote a lot about the "glimpses" we often get of the deep truths that live so magnificently in eternity. (It's a lot like the idea the Greek philosopher Plato wrote about when he discussed "forms" or perfect renditions of objects and ideas.) Lewis argues that music and art and beauty in general offer us glimpses - previews - into heaven.
Too much beauty would - essentially - destroy us if we were exposed to it, and the truth about love is more "terrible" still. This is the line of thinking we read in the Old Testament, the idea that humans can't look at God because God's purity and beauty and majesty would be too much for us. We just can't bear purity and light like that.
Well the love that I feel for David Henry "ere he knows me" tells me something of the scope - the length, breadth, depth, height and words that enter other dimensions - of God's amazing love for me. If the great thinkers are right, then the love we're talking about from God is beyond my capacity to even begin to imagine. Wow!
So God has given me - given us - David Henry. Given this privilege, this glimpse into the heart of love and the source of God's ongoing care for each one of us. Considered in those terms, God is beyond too much... and so God continues to teach me via my own grandchild.
How gracious. How merciful. How kind.
In love, and because of love - DEREK