Archive for September 20th, 2010

I’d like to go ‘old-school’ for a moment or two as this day of mine comes to a close. Think back to a time not long ago when U2 released the CD they titled, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It wasn’t that long ago, and yet it seems forever and a day. One of the (in my opinion) better tracks on the CD is a song simply called YHWH. The lyrics are such:

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist no
Take this mouth
So quick to criticize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

We were driving home from worship—the culmination of a nice Sabbath I treated myself to. Worship, by the way, was amazing today. I feared for the preacher who had the nerve to say to his congregation, “Don’t be a tumor on the body of Christ,” and, best, “Dead churches do not ask you take responsibility; living churches do.” I nearly fell out the soft padded pew. Next week I am not sitting in the balcony, that’s for sure.

We were driving home after hearing the preacher say such things and we were listening to Yahweh.  My children were horsing around in the backseat and my wife and I were engaged in conversation. I heard the lyric, “His love is like a drop in the ocean” and I paused…I thought about it…it didn’t make sense to me for some reason, but I couldn’t figure out why. I said to the lovely and gracious Bumblebee, “that lyric seems out of place, it doesn’t make sense.”

She nodded as she does when she is trying to indicate that I am over-thinking something. I persisted.

“Seriously. What is he saying there? A drop in the ocean is small compared to the ocean. Is Bono saying that God’s love is really small? Is he saying that God’s love is condescending, that it becomes small to accommodate our inability to comprehend it’s vastness? Or is he saying it is indistinguishable from everything else around it? It’s only one small part of what God in his grace gives us?” She agreed, which I think was her way of saying she wasn’t really interested in ruining a nice song with analysis.

Then it happened. I confess that right now, twelve and a half hours later, I am still in a bit of shock. It happens that my youngest son, Doodle-boy, Pookie, was listening to our conversation and, evidently, the song. He piped up, “it means it’s hard to find.”  Huh? This from my son who is about as interested in school as a chicken is in Tyson. I hadn’t thought of it that way, and I’m still having trouble understanding why my 12 year old did, but I think he might be right.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

So my thought is this: If God’s love is so vast, so great, so big, so deep, then why is it so hard to find? Is it really so indistinguishable from everything around it? Do we really have to search and search and search for God’s love?

I know that my 12 year old is not the only one asking such questions. Bono is no neophyte in matters of the mystery of God and God’s love. And we, with outstretched hands and longing hearts, too want to know this love of God that others seem to find so easily and readily. Maybe what Bono is saying is that God’s love is hard to find because it is only found in one place and we have to go through a lot of, uh, crap, to find it: it is one treasure hidden in a field, one pearl in a market place, it is one Man among millions, it is one drop in an ocean. It is hidden in plain sight, yet for all we see it is indistinguishable from its surroundings.

I do not know what was going through the mind of my Pookster, but I know what is going on inside my own heart and mind. And the truth is that sometimes God’s love is difficult to find, feel, or see. The preacher this morning said that true church membership is a loving relationship between the members. But maybe it is also the place where God’s love is felt most acutely while we are having our shoes, feet, shirts, cities, hands, and mouths changed, that is, while new children are being born. And in the meantime there is pain.

Or maybe humanity is the ocean, and Jesus is the one drop of God’s love?

Who knows? All I can really say is this: If God’s love is a drop in the ocean, I’d rather know that one drop than all the rest of the waters of earth. For it seems to me that no matter how difficult it may be to find, there, in that one drop, is all the sustenance I will need for a thousand-million years. And it would be worth searching a million years or more to find that one drop.

I’m glad Snakers spoke up this morning. He reminded me to keep on looking, to keep on searching, to keep pursuing the God who relentlessly pursues me.

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