Your name written
Across my breast
Your arms I within
I am blessed
And forgetting all but you
I find myself renewed
And found again in sweet loss,
All forever mine, again, beside you.
Close the curtain, my Love,
some things never take shape
until it's just you and I alone in Here.
*Brian K. Wilcox
* * *
Brent Curtis and John Eldridge, in The Divine Romance, refer to “relational intimacy” with God, a point of accepting God as a wild-lover. This allows us to release our trust in “lovers” that did not satisfy our deepest needs.
The past, insufficient lovers can include intellectualism, reductionism, nationalism, alcoholism, materialism, psychologism, riches, recreational sex, lust, gluttony, errant spiritualities, personal power, failed romances or marriage, ....
We can move to accept Spirit as our wild, satisfying Lover. Spirit can be our Beloved, our Love.
Curtis and Eldridge speak of even finding our past religious activities no longer to satisfy or benefit us: “There comes a place on our spiritual journey where renewed religious activity is of no use whatsoever.” This point; "We are both drawn to and fear it.”
* * *
C. S. Lewis wrote, in The Weight of Glory:
We are half-hearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
* * *
Curtis and Eldridge speak of the opportunity that awaits us when past “lovers” no longer satisfy us. When our “materialistic” or “spiritual” friends or religious leaders might seek to lead us to renew a past commitment, the Spirit of Christ might be seeking to wean us off the very satisfactions that once were satisfying but are no longer intended to satisfy:
At some point on our Christian journey, we all stand at the edge of those geographies where our heart has been satisfied by less-wild others, whether they be those of competence and order or those of indulgence. If we listen to our heart again, perhaps for the first time in a while, it tells us how weary it is of the familiar and the indulgent.
* * *
Recently, I went through a DVD of still pictures of a past wedding. I looked at the person I once loved dearly, and I could feel no such marital or romantic love anymore. The pictures of our wedding seemed to show a person I did not even know, and had never possibly really known. What was once so alive with love and hope, was nothing more than a rose wilted in the pangs of betrayal of a sacred, holy covenant.
Such is our spiritual lives. What once nurtured us, where we were at one point of our journey, is over. When we try to hang on, we block the good God is leading us to. We can let go, we can move on to new experiences and beliefs, and they can become part of the journey that one day might be left behind, as we move on again.
There is one truth we cannot avoid in being spiritual pilgrims. We cannot move on while stuck where we are; we can only move on by moving on.
1. What less-wild lovers no longer satisfy you?
2. Can you relate to God as your Lover? Explain.
3. How does the image of God as Lover speak to you in ways that the following do not: King, Judge, Lord, Creator, …?
4. Do you sense a need to release some past less-wild lovers to grow more deeply in relational intimacy with the Spirit? What are those less-wild lovers in your life?
5. Have you ever gotten out of a romantic relationship, marriage, or friendship due to your outgrowing the relationship through your growing more intimate with the Divine?