Further Along My Passage

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Don’t you see now how Christ achieves the seemingly impossible?  He can give life, by imparting Himself to you, by coming into you, by making His dwelling with you; for He is life.  That is the secret.  If Shakespeare were in you, what poetry you could write!  If Beethoven were in you, what music you could compose!  If Christ were in you, what a life you could live!  If?  There need be no if about it.  You can’t have an indwelling Shakespeare or Beethoven.  You can have an indwelling Christ.  You can say with Paul, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”  Then indeed the dead soul has heard the voice of Resurrection.  Then your spirit has cast off all its bonds and come alive!  Then “From the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be.”  James S. Stewart in a sermon “The Voice that Wakes the Dead

Sissy's First Born

Sissy’s Firstborn-Photo by Julia Hassett –

http://julia-hassett.pixels.com Used by Permission

Grazing newborn lambs alongside their mamas are a familiar sight each Spring time in our Shenandoah Valley meadows.  Julia Hassett in Oregon captured this photo of Sissy’s Firstborn.  Hassett assisted with the adorable little ewe lamb’s delivery who she named Dawn. 

Our little country church recently had a focus lesson on what it really means to love, with the emphasis on agape’, the love that Jesus taught His disciples about caring love.  So all my thoughts have driven me back to rediscover the marvelous miracles of how agape love teaches us how to truly live.  Leo Buscaglia, the professor who lectured us in the 1970s on the wonders of life and love became my pen pal.  In a lecture he entitled The Art of Being Human, Leo stated:  “To me, probably the most exciting thing in the world is the realization that I have the potential of being fully human.  I can’t be God, but I can be a fully functioning human being!...You cannot give to anybody in this world what you do not have.  And therefore you must concentrate on getting.  You must become the most beautiful, sensitive, wondrous, magical, unique, fantastic person in the world to be able to have all of these things in order to give them away and share them.  If I don’t have wisdom I can only teach my ignorance.  If I don’t have joy I can only teach you despair. If I don’t have freedom I can only put you in cages.  But everything that I have I can give away.  That’s the only reason for having it.  He quotes Leo Rosten: ‘In some way, however small and secret, each of us is a little mad. Everyone is lonely at the bottom and cries to be understood. But we can never entirely understand someone else. Each of us remains part stranger, even to those who love us. It is the weak who are cruel; Gentleness is expected only from the strong. Those who do not know fear are not really brave, for courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined.  You can understand people better if you look at them,-- No matter how old or impressive they may be – as if they are children. For most of us are never mature, we simply grow taller.  Happiness comes only when we push our brains and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable.  The purpose of life is to matter, to count, to stand for something.” ...Leo continues:”Oh, learn to risk again.  Go back to that point in childhood where the whole world was a gigantic, wondrous mystery that you had to understand.  Get hooked on it.  Say to yourself, ‘I want to know everything, and there isn’t time in life to do it all, so I’ve got to do it now.’  Value every moment as if it really is your last because it might very well be.”...Don’t wait until tomorrow to tell somebody you love them.  Do it now.

“Yours is a unique…wondrous history.  Love it and embrace it.  Reinvent forgiveness.  You are never going to be able to choose life until you learn to forgive!  You forgive people who have done ill to you by learning to forgive them and saying, ‘It’s all right.’ Because if you don’t, you carry those things on your back like dead albatrosses, and they weigh you down.  When you learn to forgive, and when you learn grace again, you can cut those weights free, and all those energies you use to keep those things in check can now be used to help you grow and become beautiful…Let it go.  Learn from it and let it go….To choose life, we must be willing to risk again and love again.  Can you think of anything more important?  What do we suffer for?  What do we hope for?  It’s love.  It’s life.  To miss it will always be your greatest loss.  But if you are willing to risk, to be hurt, to suffer, you will know love….We’ve got to make our peace with death in order to choose life, because death is an incredibly good friend.  It tells us that we don’t have forever…It tells us not to waste time.  It tells us to grow, it tells us to become!  It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other....

We’re never told what life really is.  We’re not told that life is also pain, misery, despair, unhappiness and tears.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss any of it.  I want to embrace life, and I want to find out what it’s all about.  I wouldn’t want to go through life without knowing what it is to cry.  That’s why I have lachrymal ducts.  If I wasn’t meant to cry…It’s all right to cry a little bit.  I always find that tears clear my eyes....Being hurt occasionally can spice up your life.  When you’re crying, you’re at least alive.  Pain is better than nothing.  We need to reach out, we need to bring in, we need not to be afraid.  To love is to risk not being loved in return....To live is to risk dying.  To hope is to risk despair and to try is to risk failure.  But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing.  The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.  He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live....  Only the person who risks is truly free....”

Sarah Patton Boyle in her book The Desegregated Heart, also taught me the deeper meaning of agape love;  “Every endeavor, every relationship glows, lives, is magically new when love is added.”, she wrote...”But the words ‘I love you,’ spoken or heard when you yourself are experiencing them to the full are extravagantly exciting, incredibly, creatively new.  In them the world is reborn for you.  And in the words ‘God is love,’ experienced by you in the only way they can be fully experienced, in poverty of spirit, you are reborn....As I pondered them, a fresh world picture dimly formed before me.  What would it be like to live in such a world? – A world in which I looked to God for all the wondrous, warm responses I had once sought in man?  What if I believed in God with the vitality of conviction which once characterized my belief in man?  What would happen to my inner being if I loved God with the same outpouring of faith, admiration, fellowship, identification, and tenderness which once I felt for certain people?...Someday I should be able to love again, and this time my love would be stored ‘where moth and rust doth not corrupt.’...I knew that from starting from the premise God is love no life I remade for myself, no inner world I reconstructed, and no outer world I strove to realize could be without purpose, meaning, and worth....Of three things we can be sure:  We must die; we have betrayed the Vision; we are fools.  If a man thinks he can escape any of these fates, the more fool he.  Never the question, ‘Will, or will I not be a fool?’  It is, What will I be a fool over?’ On the numerous occasions when each has found himself foolish, how often had we a purpose which gave meaning to our humiliation?  When the lawyer asked how he could inherit eternal life, Jesus said to love God and man, then added, ‘This do, and thou shalt live.’  If we will not be fools for love, we choose death, not merely for the dim future, but for the eternal now.”V

Because I live, ye shall live also.  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”  Jesus speaking to His disciples.  St. John 14:19-21