Tuesday, December 21, 2010

God speaks...

Today is the longest, darkest day of the year in the northern part of the world, winter at its height. Where I live, we receive only 7 hours and 28 minutes of daylight. The good news is that from this afternoon on, our daylight begins to lengthen again.
What's really interesting to me is that today the Christian lectionary (the scripture readings chosen for each day of the year) has the following as the Old Testament Reading:

The voice of my beloved!
   Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
   bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle
   or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
   behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
   looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me:
'Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away: for now the winter is past,
   The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth;
   the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
   is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs,
   and the vines are in blossom;
   they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
   in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,
   let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
   and your face is lovely.'

                -- Song of Songs 2. 8-14 (NRSV)
These are probably my favourite verses in the entire bible. The first time I came across them, I felt like I was living in the deepest darkness. But here was God speaking to me like a lover; telling me things were going to improve; that light was returning; that spring was coming again. God called me "my love." That really blew me away!

These days, Christianity has a lot of detractors (many of them making pretty good points about how a lot of Christians have lost Jesus' vision to bring good news to the poor, free captives, heal the sick, reach out to the marginalized, etc.) Personally, I think that if more people understood themselves and everyone else to be loved by the God represented in the passage above rather than by a judgmental God, we would make more efforts to care for the forgotten members of society and make Jesus' vision a reality. Acting justly, loving tenderly and walking humbly with God would not be an issue!

If you have a few minutes today, let God call you "my love." See if it doesn't make the depths of winter darkness seem a little less harsh. Here's a link to a little website called Pray As You Go, and if you click on December 21, it will give you today's 12 minute reflection on the reading above.


Happy Winter Solstice! 

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