Sunday, 23 September 2007

Of the Love of Jesus Above all Things

First of all, I would like to thank you all for your copious comments. I'm sorry that I haven't responded yet. Ingrid (my wife) turned 30 yesterday, and the birthday preparations and celebrations took up more time then I expected. Some things in life are more important than blogging!

Talking about priorities, today is Sunday so I'm going to quote somebody who has a great ability to dig behind the strongholds we set up to defend ourselves from the piercing implications of the Gospel. I read it yesterday morning and it haunts me as I spend my time thinking about how one should do 'theology' or 'exegesis'.
"Blessed is he that knoweth how good it is to love Jesus, and for His sake to despise himself. It behoveth the lover of Jesus to forsake all other love beside Him, for He will be loved only above all other. The love of creatures is deceivable and failing, but the love of Jesus is faithful and always abiding. He that cleaveth to any creature must of necessity fail, as doth the creature; but he that cleaveth abidingly to Jesus shall be made stable in Him for ever. Love Him, therefore, and hold Him thy friend; for when all others forsake thee, He will not forsake thee, nor suffer thee finally to perish.


If thou take heed only to the outward appearance thou shalt soon be deceived; and if thou seek thy comfort in anything but in Jesus, thou shalt feel thereby great spiritual loss. If thou seek in all things thy Lord Jesus, thou shalt truly find thy Lord Jesus; and if thou seek thyself, thou shalt find thyself, but it shall be to thine own great loss. Truly a man is more grievous and more hurtful to himself, if he seek not his Lord Jesus, than all the world and all his adversaries may be."
It's refreshing to have such words from from the 15th Century. Do you recognise the voice?

As an Old Testment theologian, reading the text as the living Word of God, these thoughts need to haunt me, guide me and challenge me.


Bob MacDonald said...

The voice - Julian of Norwich? I don't know offhand her dates and I have only read a few of her prayers.

I spent most of my study time prior to 2006 in the NT. After a year of (for me) intense immersion in the Psalms and their leading me through their allusions, to the Law and the Prophets, I had wondered if somehow I would no longer be able to say 'the Lord Jesus' with such simple conviction. Perhaps the conviction will be deeper - but one thing I note, in hope: that the knowledge of the glory of God, spread as fire on the earth through the death of Jesus, God's anointed, has not left me without that essential comfort and, if needed, merciful guidance of his face.

I would love to hear more of these Hebrew-Greek semantic connections between the old and the new. They convince me of the chosenness of the first people of God - yet here is where the nub of the problem of the incarnation is: that this abiding presence became like us in all respects, in himself.

Phil Sumpter said...

Thanks for your thoughts Bob. The Psalms are a good place to dive into when trying to understand Jesus. They complicate things somewhat, but lead us to a depth dimension we wouldn't be able to attain if we remained just with the apostolic depiction.
The voice, by the way, if of Thomas à Kempis in his The Imitation of Christ (reputedly the most read piece of Christian literature after the Bible!)