Monday, May 15, 2006

A Life Well Lived: Out, Up, or In?

1 John 4:19
We love, because He first loved us.

In 1993, Sting released what has become something of a postmodern anthem:

"If I Ever Lose My Faith in You"

You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy church
You could say I lost my sense of direction
You could say all of this and worse but

If I ever lose my faith in you
There'd be nothing left for me to do.

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I'd lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me

If I ever lose my faith in you
There'd be nothing left for me to do.

I could be lost inside their lies without a trace
But every time I close my eyes I see your face

I never saw no miracle of science
That didn't go from a blessing to a curse
I never saw no military solution
That didn't always end up as something worse but
Let me say this first

If I ever lose my faith in you
There'd be nothing left for me to do.

These lines seethe with cynicism, hopelessness, and fleeting, misdirected hope. Compare them with the hope-filled lines of pastor-poet George Herbert. (Take your time. Read this slowly and thoughtfully.)


Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
"Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.

There is no hope in reaching
out for naturalistic, inductive, empirical verification of the Word and works of a sovereign God; or up to tap into some impersonal force or power when needed; or in to fan into flame a mysterious divine spark. Our only daily, hourly, and eternal hope is found in the sovereign God who reaches down--in love.

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