Tag Archives: cross

April, foolishness and Spring

7 Apr

TS Eliot – April is the cruellest month.


I’ve been thinking about this line over and over. When I was little (er, yes, vague literary references floated through my head when I was little and it probably made me a strange kid…) – anyway, when I was little, I used to think that meant that is was because of Good Friday.

And I struggled with that interpretation because was it a cruel thing to put him on the cross? The pain was cruel, but God was just. Is. Right?

But I’ve decided that April is the cruellest month because it reminds us of that sacrifice that, in so many hearts, goes unheeded. It is one thing to preach hellfire and damnation. But it is another to recognise rejected Father love. One screeches ‘Save yourself!’ The other whispers ‘Take My love’.

In Eliot’s time, it painted a picture of Modernism’s rather wholesale herdish rejection of Love.

‘April is the cruellest month’ because it brings the promise of Spring but there is NO resurrection within the world of the poem. It’s a disconnected, broken poem in form and content… The pictures are dry, dead summer and winter that hints at life. It teases about life but finds no fruition…
Our existence is fragmented without our knowledge of the reality of the cross and that is what the world has turned away from.
Palm Sunday fell on April Fools day this year. God chose a donkey to ride in on when Israel finally hailed him as king – the foolish things of the world and the weak to put to shame the mighty.
The foolishness of the cross is crazy, public love. He was looking at you on that cross. You.
When he said it was finished, when he said ‘Father, forgive’. His eyes never left your face.
Are you looking at Him? The crazy, foolhardiness of that radical act of love, of winning his bride – the foolishness of the cross – is its wisdom. What do we count foolish and what do we count wise?
It’s not quite a joke though – the cross. This – okay, this religion if you will, that people mock. Are we falling for the wrong joke?
Happy Good Friday and Holy Saturday, you.
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Still crazy

20 Mar

Sometimes I leave home and there is this funny feeling that I’ve forgotten something.

And it’s really hard to put my finger on what. So I walk through the hallway a couple of times, trying different doors, looking busy. When I’m struggling to remember, I can’t really do much else.

I forgot something today.


I forgot about being in love. Like – if someone asked you – you couldn’t really find a moment in your day when you haven’t been thinking about him. Checking your phone, checking your latest letter. I forget how perfectly he understands and I know it when we’re together. How my heart slumps down in relief like a body after a marathon because I know he’s got me covered.

You know when people are in love. Right? And I flatter myself I can tell when it’s real.

And I wonder if they hear it – this sigh of relief when I’m home not because I have a comfy, worn down, old armchair, or because I have my mug and coffee, or even murukku in it. But because I can hear his voice over my shoulder, by my side, and it doesn’t startle me. It’s old, familiar, loved.

It’s gentle.

A while ago, I wrote this and it turned out to be my most popular post. I called it crazy that I forget about this man who would and did give his life for me, this God who gave me life. I forget.

What makes me cry?

Looking at love.

Tienen tu color

13 Mar

Church today was one of those days.

You knowwhen your heart is all scrunched up and hurting because you recognise – thud thud thud BOOM BOOM BOOM – this is the voice you love. Every time I come into his presence and feel the whisper of his love, his arms, his voice – the vulnerability gets me.

HE made HIMSELF vulnerable to us. Forever. You know, once you’ve stripped away your defenses, everyone always knows they’re defenses, nothing else… Ever had someone hurt you really badly? Only the people you love can really do that… unfortunately! And the pain lasts! Unless – unless you have then opened up yourself to the other person. Completely. And they have to you. And you’ve talked about it. And then the love lasts…

On the cross, Jesus bore all our pain. Sometimes familiar words become innocuous… Jesus. felt. all. our. pain. All that was then and would be now. Emotional, mental, physical – wrenching pain in the foreknowledge of which he prayed in agony in that garden. Alone. And we kept hurting him. And in that pain, as he was dying, as he was being fully human, more human than any of us could be, he was opening up his space as God. The veil tore.

And we saw into the holy of holies. The heart of a God who loved us enough to die for us, to give us his dearest, most precious relationship – so he could have ours. The heart of a God who hurt under all the sin of our making, whose glory physically could not hold the sickness of sin. The heart of a God which we now could see – everyone could see if they wanted to look.

Putting that veil back there now is kinda pointless. There is power in knowledge.

And he was giving that power to us – to know that that was how much he loved us.

This is the God I want to follow. I want nothing outside of his will, or his glory. Nothing outside of him. His will for my life, for my career, for my relationships… for the things he knows I need I cannot put in words or don’t even know of. I want his glory to come rest on what has been in my life, what is and whatever will be. And intentionally, I want to make my life about him, in the fullest sense.

We shortchange God’s purposes for us and think to be ‘good’ is what he wants us to be, to be churched, to be ‘regular’ or even to be faithful… YES, oh yes, he does want that… But he wants so much more. He wants the riches of the nations, the hidden treasures, the purpose He set us apart for before we were born, the glory of the Lord, the honour of His name in our lives.

He doesn’t want much but he wants everything – He wants us. Don’t make this my prayer. It isn’t – although God knows I need it… But I’m telling you this, so you can nod and smile and join me in giving him this.

I want my thoughts, and hopes, and dreams, and desires to be his. For people, to somehow hear his voice in my words – to see when I mess up, and to see his grace. To want to seek him, to see him. I know that I am unworthy, except for him. I want him to be my all. The fragrance of Christ in me, the stamp of the Spirit dwelling in me and moving out through me. Even. me.

Esas palabras del cantador, Jesus Adrian Romero, expresan mis sentimientos maravillosamente:

Todos mis anelos tienen tu color
tienen el latido de tu corazon,
yo no quiero nada sin tu direccion

Todos mis anelos son de ti señor
tienen tu cadencia, tienen tu pasion,
no me importa nada solo tu favor.

Crazy love (sorry, Mr Chan)

12 Feb

I wrote this a while ago. In 2009. It is seasonal 😉 But more importantly, it encapsulates my thoughts now – today, another of those times I’ve forgotten to love.

How does one explain without seeming insane that you’re utterly in love with someone? Love that makes you want to hug the person, hold them so long and hard. The kind that makes you stop in the heavy afternoon amidst work and play and intimate conversations with best friends and take a quick, sharp breath from this realisation: God, I love you!

And what makes it crazier is that no one ever sees him with his arm on your shoulder or holding you close or smiling down at you… And yet, if they don’t know him themselves, they don’t realise that nothing ever comes close to this kind of love anyway! The can’t-take-my-eyes-off-you love. While they don’t see him holding your hand on a ramble through town, you wonder if they’ve seen him give everything for you. Obsess about you constantly. Die on a cross for you. And you wonder what it takes.

What’s even crazier is how often you forget how in love you are. Crazy!

public love physical display affection God's love Valentine's valentine intimacy true real love

I cannot get over how much God loves you. Me. I know all the things I’ve done. Worse, the things I’ve thought. I know I have been cold and distant. I know the things that I have – deliberately – left undone, unsaid… gathering the dust of numbed guilt.

And yet. He. Loves. Me.

And I know the reality of his love.

It isn’t the least bit distant or theological or abstract or a logical conclusion. It’s pretty far from any logical conclusion I’ve ever made, that’s for certain. I remember praying, as an early teen, that I wouldn’t have to wait for the intimacy of a relationship to find out what God’d meant by the metaphor of a husband’s love… And he was faithful in answering that prayer as I needed it. Oh friend, how faithful. Even when I least deserved it.

There is a relationship waiting to be had that is all-sufficient, all-encompassing… It is never going to be equal except in that the Lord carries you and holds you up to him… With someone who isn’t limited or bounded by our boxes, who doesn’t need to wait on human experience to show us the depth of his love.

Sometimes someone is so beautiful that you want to cry simply looking at them.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no freak. So I don’t simply blubber at the Hoff or Mr Firth… Honestly – you might find it hard to believe.

I do cry, however, when a child I love tells me he wants to be a policeman – so that no one else dies in his community from a knife-fight. Just a policeman, no more – but he won’t take bribes. I feel that familiar lump again when a child I love runs up to me from behind and awkwardly snuggles into me. I feel that lump when someone in my family is appreciated, or even when the Tass knows I’m crying…

I read a Father’s Day line somewhere that reminded me of God.

You have your Father’s eyes.

So you know what it feels like to have tears in them.

What makes you cry?

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