Tuesday, December 15, 2009

“In a telescope lens, and when all you want is friends” (Or, I Miss You)

“My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?”

I cannot imagine the hell it must be to be separated from God. Christ experienced it on the cross so that I do not have to, but I cannot comprehend the agony that must have been in that moment as Jesus screamed from the cross.

“Absence makes the heart grow weathered, but fonder still.”
– Copeland

Missing a person is a curious thing. You can miss a person for a lot of reasons. Perhaps they have died. Or maybe you no longer live near them. Maybe something has altered your relationship – a breakup, a division, a betrayal. Or maybe, the busyness of life has caused the separation.

I miss you.

What does that really mean? We all instinctively know what is intended by the phrase. But it is not so easy for me to describe its meaning. It feels bad. Yet, it is attached to good feelings. Or, at least, good memories.

I think that if I miss someone it reveals some things.

Affection and fondness.

Delight in that person’s company.

A sense of attachment. An attachment that is very particular and specific.

A dislike of separation.

A dislike for my lack of sovereignty.

Missing someone betrays our desire for significant relationships. We like to live out life with people. Really, we like to live out life with certain people.

What is the proper response to missing someone? I struggle to figure it out. In some cases, depending on why I miss the person, I can remedy the situation with a little action. A phone call. A letter. A visit. A trip.

In other cases, there does not seem to be any steps to be taken. You just miss a person and know you cannot do anything about it. Perhaps time seems to numb the feeling. However, as soon as you think it is past, a scent or a scene or a song can bring the emotion rushing back with the flood of memories.

I once heard Peter Kreeft talk about a baby in the womb. The baby has no idea what is coming. He does not know what the world outside holds. If the baby were to examine some things about himself, he would probably be kind of confused. Why a mouth and nose? They do not seem to be necessary. Legs? What purpose could they possibly serve?

There are things that are a part of a baby’s life in the womb that do not seem to make much sense for life in the womb. But they point to the life to come.

Kreeft was answering a question about suffering.

“Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

There is love in missing.

God is love and we are made in His image. Made for close relationships. Made to love and be loved.

In the Trinity I see affection and fondness. I see delight and pleasure in community. I see a sense, no, a real, no, the most real attachment. No separation. No lack of sovereignty.

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
Holy wonder.

It fascinates me to miss someone. There is so much to be learned in it. The story of the world can be found in that one feeling.

I would not love were it not for a gracious Creator that made me to be in relationship with others.

I would not ache were it not for separation. A separation caused by sin. Whether death, conflict, or geography has caused the separation, it is a separation caused by the sin of our father Adam. And it is a separation caused by my sin

I could not hope for a restoration apart from the cross of Christ. As terrible as the feeling of missing someone feels, I will be eternally grateful to not have to experience separation from the Father. I am grateful for a Redeemer who is killing my sin.

I can look forward to the day when there is no opportunity to miss a person. No more separation. Just eternal glory.

Creation. Fall. Redemption. New Creation.

And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul. Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty.” 1 Samuel 20:17-18

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Christmas Post

"He has been manifested in a human body for this reason only, out of the love and goodness of His Father, for the salvation of us men... it was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down, our transgression that called out His love for us, so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us."

Athanasius in On the Incarnation (probably my favorite 4th century bishop of Alexandria)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Worthwhile Examination of Modern Friendship

I read an article today that I believe is worth passing along.

It is about friendship and the way it has changed.

William Deresiewicz writes, “The idea of friendship in ancient times could not have been more different. Achilles and Patroclus, David and Jonathan, Virgil's Nisus and Euryalus: Far from being ordinary and universal, friendship, for the ancients, was rare, precious, and hard-won.”

At one point, Deresiewicz traces part of the problem to the rise of Christianity. I understand his argument, though I think he is a bit off. Rather than the rise of Christianity being the issue, I am more inclined to think that the problem is that many Christians have missed the biblical emphasis on good friendships.

Scripture sees friendship as a gift from God. David could even exclaim that he found all his delight in other people (Psalm 16:3).

While I think Deresiewicz is slightly off at times, I think his article was spot on in its purpose. Take the time to read it. Take some time to reflect on it.

It just might make you rethink some things in your life. I know that it had that effect on me.

The article is found here. If you start it, I think you will finish it.

"Mother, Zeus may have done all this for me,

But how can I rejoice? My friend is dead,

Patroclus, my dearest friend of all. I loved him...

But I'm going now to find the man who destroyed

My beloved."

Achilles in Homer's Iliad