Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the gray tomb-stone -
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy:
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness – for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In death around thee – and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.
The night – tho’ clear – shall frown -
And the stars shall look not down,
From their high thrones in the heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given -
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish -
Now are visions ne’er to vanish -
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more – like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze – the breath of God – is still -
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy – shadowy – yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token -
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries! -
-”Spirits of the Dead,” Edgar Allan Poe
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
-1 John 4.15-21
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ That is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
This past month has been one in which God has revealed to me so much concerning love. I’ve always known that love is important for those who profess to be followers of the Son of Man, but I don’t think I ever realized just how central, how foundational , love is to Christianity.
At the high school where I teach, we Bible teachers have instituted a calendar of biblical themes for corporate scripture readings in chapel on Fridays, with each month having its own theme. This month’s theme was love, so each grade’s Bible class was in charge of presenting that theme one Friday this month. My ninth grade Bible class had this past Friday, and we simply read aloud a series of New Testament scriptures related to love. One student read a passage after another, without citing references or anything. It was amazing to hear the scriptures speak to us in a unified voice: “All commands we are given hang upon this one simple command: to love God and to love your fellow human being. If you are from God, you will demonstrate obedience to this command in the way you live your life.”
What has struck me is that this principle is the very core of our faith, our faith that proclaims, “God is love.” If we truly love God, his love in us will be made manifest in our lives, just as God’s agape love was embodied in and actualized by Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13.34b,35) My question is, do we live this out? Truly? I know I do not all the time, but I am trying to live by love more and more.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known upon the earth, your saving power among all the nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
I have some sad news. My cat Felix has AIDS. It sounds like he probably contracted this horrible disease by being scratched or bitten. Since he’s been neutered I don’t think he has the wherewithal to be a ho, so I’ve ruled out the possibility that it was transmitted sexually. I’m sad.
I’m also mad. It looks like I’m going to be owing the IRS a huge amount of money again this year. I’m doing something horribly wrong on my W4… I think another contributing factor is that my dad can still claim me as a dependent, which leaves me with no dependent (myself) to claim. I was also looking at the tax tables, and I would have gotten 300 dollars off my tax if I were married!! Oh woman of my dreams, where are you?
I’m working on some other entries I hope people will find interesting. I’m working to get something up before the weekend is out.
Welcome to my first feeble attempt at a weblog. I am excited to finally be getting this off the ground and cannot wait to see what comes out of this little project.
Perhaps I should not designate this undertaking as “little.” It has taken me several days just to get to the point of composing this entry. Let me just say that I will put forth my best efforts as I post to this site. This means (in my twisted world) that postings will be irregular at best. But I hope they will be meaningful (and perhaps inspiring?) for those who read them.
Speaking of, the process of considering the ramifications of that mysterious force we call “blog” has revealed to me how compartmentalized my life has become. I am loathe to call myself a full-blown hypocrite, but the prospect of having a website onto which I publish my views on divers facets of existence has shown me that I don’t talk about everything with everyone and some things that I might say here may utterly shock some while those same views of mine may be totally familiar to others.
That being said, I am obviously expecting my audience to consist primarily of those people with whom I associate on a somewhat regular basis. However, one of the exciting things about this undertaking is that prospect of encountering new minds and new ideas. That’s pretty cool.
So if you know me, you will probably learn something new about me every once in awhile. That kind of scares me, but c’est la vie.
Whether you know me or not, I hope you will dialogue with me and post your comments and thoughts in response to my entries. Let’s see what happens.