1. As referenced in Chapter 5 of TGABG, George Herbert’s poem, “Love (III).”
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 any thing.
"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, 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.
Which all made me think of Christmas, and the ultimate gift of Love born. Is there really anything greater? How beautiful to celebrate it every year.
2. Also referenced in TGABG, Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails…
Read at a lot of weddings, including possibly my own? I can’t even remember. I do remember reading it at my brother’s wedding. Love is at the root of mercy, grace.
3. Zooming us up to present day. The Herbert poem made me think of “The Ballad of Love and Hate,” by The Avett Brothers.
Love writes a letter and sends it to Hate:
"My vacation’s ending, I'm coming home late
The weather was fine and the ocean was great
And I can't wait to see you again."
Hate reads the letter and throws it away
"No one here cares if you go or you stay
I barely even noticed that you were away
I'll see you or I won't, whatever."
Love sings a song as she sails through the sky
The water looks bluer through her pretty eyes
And everyone knows it whenever she flies
And also when she comes down.
Hate keeps his head up and walks through the street
Every stranger and drifter he greets
And shakes hands with every loner he meets
With a serious look on his face.
Love arrives safely with suitcase in tow
Carrying with her the good things we know
A reason to live and a reason to grow
To trust, to hold, to care.
Hate sits alone on the hood of his car
Without much regard to the moon or the stars
Lazily killing the last of a jar
Of the strongest stuff you can drink.
Love takes a taxi, a young man drives
As soon he sees her hope fills his eyes
But tears follow after at the end of the ride
Because he might never see her again.
Hate gets home lucky to still be alive
He screams over the sidewalk and into the drive
The clock in the kitchen says two-fifty-five
And the clock in the kitchen is slow.
Love has been waiting patient and kind
Just wanting a phone call or some kind of sign
That the one that she cares for who's out of his mind
Will make it back safe to her arms.
Hate stumbles forward and leans in the door
Weary head hung down, eyes to the floor
He says, "Love, I'm sorry," and she says, "What for?
I'm yours and that's it, whatever.”
“I should not have been gone for so long…”
“I'm yours and that's it, forever. You’re mine and that's it, forever."
Which in so many ways is Herbert’s poem reincarnated. Except Love here is of this world. No greater Love exists than the Love of God. But we, too, can learn to know it.
May we all come to know Love a little more in 2012. Happy New Year!