Thursday, February 09, 2006


Getting to "Us"

Father, where am I going?
Oh, Father, I'll rest in knowing that you love me

And you will guide me along, oh

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Father, while I am waiting
Oh, Father, eagles are making their way through the sky,

Father, please teach me to fly

"What separates artifices and artifacts from mere assemblages of components, what defines them and their use, is the love with which they are constructed and applied."

Father, send me your Spirit
Oh, Father, help me to hear [him]

I want to walk in your light

Pleasing to be in your sight

I wrote a version of this post last night. In it, I denigrated my ability to love. Why? Because, to my way of seeing, I don't love anyone and am not interested in learning to do so. I got it finished, tried an experiment, and lost it. Gone. Irrecoverable. I stared at the blank screen. A little later, God told me why. He brought some memories up from the depths.

Father, when I feel forsaken
Oh, Father, when my fragile heart is just breaking in two

Help me to draw nearer to you

"I see love in the sculpture," she said. A young woman from Taiwan, here to learn English and taking a day off in Venice Beach, where I happened to be making a sculpture. I told her I didn't know anything about love. She didn't say it in so many words, but she didn't believe me. I, in my self-reliant and obdurate way--if you want to survive in this place you have to hold on very tightly to yourself--blew her off. But I have a good memory. I think it's a necessary precondition for anyone who wants to gain skill in anything.

Father, I'm not deserving
But Father, I know there's blessing in serving you.

Show me the right things to do.

Prostrate, lying face-up in the desert I'd made of my soul, I one chance to avoid oblivion: accept God's love. In the years since love has been the substrate for everything else. Lately I've been trying to ignore it. Don't want nuttin' to do with love. It's a fake, just words. I deal with fact, hard things I can touch and hold.

Father, send me your Spirit
Oh, Father, help me to hear [him]

I want to walk in your light

Pleasing to be in your sight

"I think every Christian should pray each morning, and ask God to give him the strength to get through the day." When Greg said that I was shocked. God... cares about daily things? Small thing? Everyone who believes can ask for life of the Holy Spirit? When the tank is empty you don't quibble about what comes down the pipe. I figured there might be repercussions from rubbing shoulders with the Holy Spirit, but, again, desperation makes for strange bedfellows. A less likely subject for God's love would be hard to imagine... by our world's standards.

Father, though we are few
Oh, Father, you've chosen us to be your light

Help us to shine oh so bright.

Need opens the door. I kept telling God I didn't need love. I needed something else. It turns out, though, that love is at the core of what I need, it's the center from which the rest comes. Trying to live with Jesus while denying love is like walking naked in a thunderstorm without getting wet. Once I saw that I did the logical thing: freak out and run.

Father, send us your Spirit
Oh, Father, help us to hear [him]

We want to walk in your light

Pleasing to be in your sight

We want to walk in your light

Pleasing to be in your sight

And I ran... and I ran... if you want to make time, you throw things out to lighten the load. Love, of course, was one of the first things to be jettisoned. It's interesting to find out how many other things are connected to that. Sand sculpture went over, observation and enjoyment. I walked around with my eyes on the ground, hoping I wouldn't be noticed. As the battle continued life turned more and more grey. Pretty amazing for a child of God, but that's the price I was willing to pay to keep from having to deal with love. Better to keep it hidden. The balance was thoroughly destroyed by which I'd lived. Love was fine so long as it didn't mess things up.

Oh, Father of lights
Oh, Father of lights

Oh, Father of lights

Oh, Father of lights...

That ol' searchlight kept finding me. He wouldn't leave me alone. Not only did he promise not to leave, but I asked him some time back to do whatever it took to keep me with him. You want to fight? OK, I'll do what you asked. And the run gets very rough. There's really not much point in living that way. Eventually even I, desperate to avoid God's touch, could see that what I was doing to avoid everything was worse that anything God could dream up. So a few weeks back I gave up the running. It's still going to take time. There is no community without love. Even I know that, and have for a long time. The problem is in learning to love.

So, I will learn love. God has said so. It may not be such a long trip. What it takes is consciousness, which is the nub of my problem. Anything is fine so long as I don't have to pay attention. The Holy Spirit really doesn't care much for unawareness; that's not compatible with his kind of life. Unawareness is a hard habit to break but he doesn't quit. He also gets upset when I cut myself down after he's put so much into reconstruction. It's the gentlest reading of the riot act I've run into. He wants me honestly conscious. Restoring the balance.

"Father of Lights" by Karen Lafferty, 1978
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
"Artifices" quote from "The Eternity Artifact" by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

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