Rambles of One Windborn(e)

from EDWARD WATERS, Bard of the Grey Wind

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Poet, singer-songwriter, essayist, aphorist. BA in English Literature (1980); Master of Divinity (1991). Married in 1980 to Cindy ('My best friend and the love of my life'). Itinerant work of music and speaking spanned four decades, ranging over most of the length of the U.S. eastern seaboard and to England. Has composed over 90 songs. Released first recorded collection, The Thing That Matters, in 1988. This and more recent selections may be heard online at Edward's primary website, Bard of the Grey Wind, also containing some of his general writing and poetry. Partial to ancient and mediaeval literature and history; Shakespeare; etymology; legend and folklore; and the lives, works, and scholarship of British authors associated with the Inklings circle. Enjoys early and Baroque music, 'period' films, family evenings of reading aloud, and (particularly during autumn and winter) walking in the woods and mountains. Also has devout views on the proper preparation of a decent cup of tea.

18 June 2009


by Edward Waters

(first posted on 'Facebook',
25th January 2009)

1. Someone once said that, given an absolute choice of two things, I almost always manage to find a third. I've long considered this one of the truest observations ever made about me.

2. I detest being called 'Mister Waters' -- by anyone of any age for any reason. It does not communicate respect. Respect is calling me what I wish to be called. My name is Edward.

[Note: A few old friends do still call me 'Ed', but this is only because they met me when I was trying to shake off the 'Eddie' of my childhood. 'Ed' was a transitional compromise.]

3. Apart from necessarily formal occasions (weddings, funerals, etc) or costume events (Hallowe'en, Twelfth Night, Renaissance Festivals), I wear essentially the same outfit every day: Blue or black jeans, sturdy walking shoes, and a long-sleeve shirt of dark grey, black, or navy. It's a deliberate gesture of simplicity in a life where simplicity is all too rare, and it suggests my respect for some of the ideals of monasticism.

4. I am neither liberal, nor conservative, nor moderate, nor generally indifferent. My sympathies on specific issues fall all along the spectrum. As this has the potential for needlessly antagonizing almost everyone at some point, I avoid discussing politics.

5. I first saw Cindy sitting in the back of a room where I was singing during my freshman year of college. Drawing on the vast experience of having gone out on one date in my entire life, I thought, 'She's cute, but she's not my type.' -- I'm an idiot.

6. I have always found competitive sports mind-numbingly boring and don't really enjoy competition in any context. I also don't like weapons. I regard the automobile as the most disastrous invention in human history, potentially even more destructive to the world at large than nuclear arms. I have never defined myself by my day-job and have had otherwise close friends for years without knowing what they did for a living. I 'saved myself for marriage', and anyway never clearly understood how sex took place until a biology course in my second year of college. I did most of the housekeeping (and some cooking) for nine of the first dozen years of our marriage, and it was my suggestion that I continue to manage at least half the chores once we were both working outside the home. I still commemorate not just Cindy's and my wedding anniversary, but the day we met, the day of our first date, and the day we became engaged. I am sentimental to the brink of neurosis. I find nothing so cathartic as a good cry (though generally in private). 'Beauty and the Beast' is my favourite classic faerie tale, Disney film, and American television serial (CBS 1987-90).

... So I rather resent people presupposing anything about me based on male stereotypes.

7. I had my first three cups of coffee over the course of a week in my early teens. They were also my last. I didn't enjoy them and saw no reason thereafter to take up the habit. I discovered tea, however, around my last year of college, about the same time that I began to realize how many of my long-time favourite books, films, legends, musical works, foods, and even furniture were British in origin (albeit more representative of an earlier era). It would still be another decade, however, before a couple from South Africa (yes, Ian; I mean you and Quirien) finally taught us how to prepare tea properly. The rest is history.

8. What George MacDonald's Phantastes was to C.S. Lewis, The Lord of the Rings has been to me. My parents tried heroically to make a reader out of me, but it was not until my fifth-grade English teacher began reading aloud from The Hobbit at the end of her classes that a book genuinely ignited something inside me. I persuaded my mother to buy me a copy which I devoured almost overnight. Then, discovering it to be a 'prequel' to a larger work, I ploughed through J.R.R. Tolkien's three-volume masterpiece with more enthusiasm than true comprehension. Since those days I have read it at least a dozen times, on my own or aloud to Cindy; I own cassette and CD copies of the BBC radio serial (not to be confused with the appalling 'Mind's Eye' version); I have read much of Tolkien's other work, both fiction and scholarship; and, despite the eventual blossoming of my interests in many subjects and a personal library of over 2000 books, the great epic of the End of the Third Age of Middle-earth remains at the core of my literary world, and has permanently and profoundly shaped my perspective on life and my understanding of joy, sorrow, hope, sacrifice, humility, courage, beauty, loyalty, devotion, and the simple, homely pleasures and gifts the modern world too easily throws away or ploughs under.

Like many, I felt betrayed by Peter Jackson's cinematic version, not because he inevitably adapted the story to perceived film requirements, but because he completely changed the fundamental spirit and motivation of every major character save one. Patience was reinterpreted as lack of confidence, loyal friendship as accidental encounter, bold resolution as the product of trickery and manipulation, and selfless wisdom and virtue as low self-esteem. These were not the people I knew. In Tolkien's hands, however, their great hearts had 'baptized my imagination', nurtured my soul for nearly half a century, and set me on the path to becoming a devotee of books and of the English language.

9. I love Cindy. More than anything in this world. Folk far worthier than I will ever be rarely find such happiness, and I count it as nothing short of a miracle that I did. My marriage has taught me the deepest gratitude -- to Cindy and for Cindy. In a song I wrote for and sang at our wedding, I said, 'Because you're joining me, I know I never really was alone.'

10. I am a Christian, but I was not really raised as such. My highly intellectual parents were becoming sceptics at that time, and what experience I did have of church up till my early teens was sheer boredom. Nor was I persuaded to faith by any sermon, religious literature, or 'personal evangelism'. I can only say that, for as far back as I remember, throughout a very melancholy and lonely childhood, there had always been a Presence on the edge of my consciousness. Eventually (and somewhat abruptly) that Presence drew closer and, through a series of circumstances, pointed me toward the Church and gently affirmed the foundations of traditional Christianity: The trustworthiness of Scripture, the unique divinity of Jesus, and the truths of Atonement and the Resurrection.

Thus, I am not a Christian because of blind faith in archaic texts and improbable testimonials, nor because I ignore the complex and often painful realities of Church history. I trust the Scriptures, with all their difficulties; I follow Christ, with all the outrageousness of His claims; and I embrace the Church, with all its human failings -- because God, the Creator of the cosmos, made Himself real to me first.

(Copyright © 2009 by Edward Waters)

07 December 2008

Truth in a Familiar, Accessible Form


By Edward Waters
© 2003)

‘Mild He lays His glory by.’

In his acclaimed book Peace Child, Don Richardson recounts his difficulty, as a missionary in the 1960s, trying to communicate the gospel to a remote tribe of cannibals whose culture prized treachery as the highest of ideals. For them, earning someone’s complete trust, then having them for dinner (first in one sense, followed closely by another) constituted an art and a means to status. So how was one to explain the life and work of Christ to a people predisposed to see Judas as the hero of the tale? Richardson eventually found the answer when he observed the tribe, desperate to end a destructive war with a neighbour, secure peace by offering one of its own beloved children to be raised by the enemy. The ‘peace child’ proved a decisive object lesson by which the missionary was able to relate to that culture the identity and role of another beloved Son who came and lived among enemies in order to bring peace between God and mankind.

I think about this story every time I hear some well-meaning Christian rail against the pagan origins of so many Christmas traditions. Yes, adorning evergreen trees, making wreaths, decking the halls with boughs of holly, even Christmas Day’s place on the calendar, all hail from pre-Christian times and cultures. But, like Richardson’s use of the tribe’s peace child idea – in fact, like the apostle Paul in Athens, quoting Greek poets [1] and citing an altar ‘to an unknown god’ [2] – early missionaries to Europe endeavoured to illustrate and help drive home the Truths of the gospel (such as resurrection and eternal life) by appropriating, reinterpreting, and so redeeming certain elements of the cultures to which they ministered. God has been using this method since the Fall, by the way: Even circumcision was around long before it was entrusted to Moses. And let’s not forget the ghastly origins of the cross!

So I try to allow myself to enjoy the Advent season, what most people now call ‘Christmas time’. Admittedly, I make some adjustments: Objecting to how commercial the holiday has become, my wife and I generally give home-baked goods instead of buying presents – and if I send cards, I design them myself. Also, from early in our marriage we always said that if we had children we would seek to provide them with some better source of wonder than a certain popular figure that has become tarnished with rather more than just ashes and soot. But I do love Christmas trees, Christmas dinners, snowy country scenes, reading of Scrooge and his visitations, caroling, gatherings of friends around the hearth, and so forth. In truth, many of the once-pagan elements of the occasion have degenerated into something neither pagan nor Christian but merely secular, and I find that more sad than threatening.

Yet, whatever comes into my Christmas observance, I for one never forget that which the day now celebrates. In fact, every year – sooner or later – I am struck anew by the phenomenal notion of the Incarnation itself. Perhaps because I was a poet at heart raised by parents of a strong scientific bent, I may comprehend the in-comprehensible vastness of the universe as well as any finite human can – how tiny our galaxy is in that universe, how tiny our sun is in that galaxy, how tiny our planet is compared to that sun, and how tiny we are on the face of this planet. And I am utterly awed by the thought that the Creator of All, who infinitely dwarfs the seemingly infinite cosmos, entered that cosmos and took on the shape, limitation, and vulnerability of a tiny human child. He who by His very Being humbles all things somehow became the definition of humility itself, and the paragon of expressing eternal Truth in a familiar, accessible form. ‘Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail, th’incarnate Deity!’

Love’s sacrifice on our behalf culminated at Calvary, but it began in the womb of a young woman barely more than a child herself. People who talk of ‘the Christmas spirit’ may mean any number of things, but the true spirit of Christmas is humility born of love. He ‘who is enthroned on high … humbles Himself’, wrote the psalmist. [3] ‘“They shall call His name Immanuel,”’ quoted Matthew, ‘… God with us.’ [4] If the love of God could so move Him to humble Himself, how can it not move us to humble ourselves as well, both toward Him and toward one another? ‘Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,’ wrote Paul. [5] That indeed could be considered the apostle’s way of wishing the Christmas spirit on us all.

Scripture References:
[1] Acts 17.28
[2] Acts 17.23
[3] Psalm 113.5-6
[4] Isaiah 7.14; Matthew 1.23
[5] Philippians 2.5

[Revised from a devotional first delivered in 2002 at Covenant Fellowship of Greensboro, North Carolina]

19 September 2008

What Sort of Trust Clings to the Dust?

Heaven Is Their Reward

A Song by Edward Waters
(Copyright © July 1987)

A scholar came to Christ and said,
'I'll follow You, Teacher,
Wherever You may go!'
Jesus looked on his face, and, after a space,
He said, 'I would have you know:
Foxes have holes, birds have their nests,
But I Myself have no place to rest. [1]
If you'd be Mine, you too must find
All that you need in Me.'

On another day a lad possessed of wealth and power
Came seeking life that would never end.
From his earliest day God's word he'd obeyed
In regard to his fellow man.
Jesus saw in his heart, though he'd made a good start,
Still he'd not learned to love the Things Above.
He said, 'To live evermore, give your wealth to the poor
And then come and follow Me.' [2]

Bless'd are those with a spirit of poverty,
Those who love not the things of the earth.
The kingdom of heaven is their reward, [3]
A treasure of higher worth!

It's a wondrous truth that we are saved, not by works,
But by grace where in faith we stand. [4]
Oh, but what sort of trust clings to the dust
When the Kingdom's so close at hand?
If I really believe, then to Him I will cleave;
For I've learned of His love and heard His call.
All to Thee, my blessed Saviour,
I surrender all!

Bless'd are those with a spirit of poverty,
Those who love not the things of the earth.
The kingdom of heaven is their reward,
A treasure of higher worth!

Love not the things of the earth!
Seek the treasure of higher worth!

[1] Matthew 8.19-20 [2] Mark 10.17-21
[3] Matthew 5.3 [4] Ephesians 2.8-9

07 July 2008

God will seldom shout.

Defying the Din to Hear God

by Edward Waters
[Copyright © 2002, 2008]

For solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.

One summer as a teenager I whiled away a few hours exploring the library and attic of the church I attended. I found a large placard announcing revival services held in what seemed the antiquity of a former decade, and various pictures of the building itself when it had been smaller and surrounded by farmland rather than factories, car dealerships, and convenience stores. I also came upon an old photo album of youth events from another generation, and noticed that many of the participants strangely resembled adults I knew.

I have always been intrigued by what I call 'accessible history' -- details from the past which touch in some way on people and places known to me in the present, or on events I remember independently. No formal historical record can evoke the same sense of wonder as do such discoveries, or part the seas of time and difference so that, if only for a moment, 'what was' becomes less remote, even as one's world grows a little larger.

About a half-hour drive from where I live now there once lay a denominational conference centre on some hundred acres of wooded land near the headwaters of the Haw River. When not fully booked with church or corporate events, its facilities were opened to individuals for days of private retreat. Most often, for a negligible fee, such guests used either a small common room or one of the hotel-style 'sleeping rooms'. Eventually, however, a modest, two-storey house on the edge of the property was donated and converted into a retreat cottage, then made available free of charge for stays ranging from a few hours to several nights. My wife and I spent a weekend there each January for a number of years. We kept a wood-fire burning nearly the whole time and seldom left our places before the hearth -- reading (individually and to one another), writing, praying, talking, dozing, and drinking many pots of tea.

On our first visit, however, I also took a few moments to look through the 'cottage journal', a spiral-bound notebook left on a desk near the door, in which previous guests had written comments. Soon I felt stir the old fascination of that summer long ago. Here was a wealth of accessible history! The cottage being then but lately acquired, this one volume still contained entries going back to its opening. Among the earliest I recognized a passage as the source of a quote used later in the conference centre brochure; other pages mentioned a day of unusual weather I recalled from months before; and the signatures included several of our own friends and acquaintances.

Yet most interesting of all were the glimpses into other lives and minds. While some visitors simply thanked their hosts or quoted Scripture (and a few sermonized), the majority alluded to or even detailed the pace and pressures of their regular daily existence beyond these walls. Work, marriage, divorce, parenthood, finances, technology: Whatever the cause, they had felt the need for a break, a time to get away and collect themselves. And, entry after entry, people wrote of how in this cottage they had found some measure of relief. Having withdrawn for a while from their burdens and responsibilities, having rested before God, and having caught their breath (or perhaps the Breath), they felt better prepared to resume the race that still lay before them.

Although I have been a Christian for almost forty years, I continue to struggle with daily devotions, what some call having a 'quiet-time'. Early on I made a conscious effort to order my life so that temporal concerns crowded the priorities of faith as little as possible. Yet still I find quiet a very elusive thing. We strive to reserve time for God in a world that seems to begrudge us every stray minute, but even more daunting is the challenge of making this time meaningful.

Any compassionate soul understands when, on certain mornings, one's spouse can only give a quick kiss while rushing out the door; but no one imagines that a healthy marriage can subsist solely on such fare. Many of us, however, rarely afford our relationship with God more attention. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is overwhelmed! If we do manage to spare a moment, it is apt to be a blemished offering of hackneyed prayers and half-conscious readings, much as every day before and always with frequent glances at the clock. Indeed, sometimes no more is possible, and it is a testimony to God's grace that so often He honours even this. Yet real prayer, real conversation with the Creator of the universe, in which we not only speak but have time and sufficient freedom from distraction to hear Him speak to us, requires more.

When two people love each other, they make time to be together, beyond mere gestures of recognition in passing. Whatever the obstacles, they find a way. God's love for us and our devotion to Him deserve no less.

I have long understood Christ's first recorded temptation in the wilderness to concern breaking prematurely the fast to which He had committed Himself. If so, His reply to Satan suggests the very rationale behind fasting: 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.' Our Lord was temporarily abstaining from earthly food in order to concentrate on spiritual sustenance. While fasting is, sadly, an aspect of devotion much neglected today, its principle applies not only to food but to all in life which may distract us from the voice of God. Many things, though perhaps innocent and healthy in themselves, must be set aside on occasion that we may attend to needs far more basic, or those ordinary concerns will lose their innocence and become unhealthy in their tyranny.

This is why, for many years, I have tried to designate one Saturday out of almost every month to spend in solitude and devotion. If some sort of retreat centre is available, I may go there; but I have also set up in out-of-the-way corners of libraries or in public parks. I know of individuals who visit monasteries, or invest in a stay at an inn or hotel.

The form of the day also varies, according to both personal temperament and divine leading: My wife has focused some of her retreats on serious Bible study, and spent others almost entirely in listening to worship music. Most often I divide my time between prayer, singing, and reading Scripture -- and I may fast from food and entertainment a few days beforehand. Once or twice a year, however, I will simply pack a small Bible in my bag and spend the entire day hiking through some wilderness area, praying as I go and stopping occasionally to read short passages, listen to the wind, and watch the light play in the leaves. These retreats are not meant to replace daily devotions, but we find in them a potential for quiet and focus nearly impossible amidst the din and rush of everyday life. They have become an invaluable part of my communion with God, and I feel the loss whenever circumstances beyond my control still preclude them.

Some people, on learning of this practice, can conceive only of boredom in so many hours spent alone without familiar diversions. Others seem to regard such measures as either the sanctimonious extravagance of a fanatic or evidence of a piety too exalted for the common believer. Many, however, without doubting the worth of retreat, see it nonetheless as a luxury. They assume we have more time to spare, as if we planned these days with no sense of a thousand other things more obviously urgent that we could be doing. A normal person's life is too full, too busy, too hectic, too demanding to allow even one day away, let alone a regular observance.

But does not this prove the point? Those who know quiet least are surely the very ones who need it most. I would suggest, in fact, that a Christian should give priority to scheduling times of retreat in direct proportion to the difficulty of doing so.

Our discordant world, our technological age, our harried lives, our very hearts are filled with noise. And God will seldom shout. We little understand how great a mercy lies behind such self-restraint; but, consequently, if we are to hear Him, if we are to know Him and to follow Him, we must make time for quiet and solitude, away from all that clamours for our attention. It is not a luxury. It is vital. It is more important than work, than marriage, than family, than ministry, than physical health -- more important even than food and water. For it is in hearing the 'still small voice' of God that we are restored and learn to answer wisely the more frenetic, imposing voices once we return to them.

Making this time will indeed be harder for some than for others, and for most it will yield neither vivid revelations nor surges of spiritual power. God continues to speak softly even in the quiet. But He does speak, His voice does give strength, and it is in the quiet that He is heard best.

Besides, true lovers do not draw near calculating what they stand to gain from each other's company, nor while they remain in love do they dwell overmuch on what practical benefits have come of being together. Simply because of their love, they make the time. They already know it to be worthwhile. And so, whatever the obstacles, they find a way.

We go forward seeking truth in the Divine speech, or the Word;
and then by our actions we conform ourselves to true righteousness.
We may take nothing with us on this way, neither bag nor cloak;
and we need no staff to walk with or sandals to wear.
The way alone is enough:
He will provide all we need for our journey.


Works cited:
Milton, John. Paradise Lost. 1667.
Origen. Commentary on the Gospel According to John. [Early 3rd Century].

[The preceding is revised from the Candlemas 2001 issue of Stirrings of the Greywind [sic].]

07 April 2008

A Word of Encouragement [It's tax-time, after all.]

The Hope That Comes From You

A Song by Edward Waters
(Copyright © May 1983)
[Click to hear this song]

I walk out my front door into a world that's full of grief,
And what few smiles men wear seem born of blindness or deceit.
But when in weaker moments I would do as others do,
I hear a Voice behind me telling me the way that's true.[1]

In these troubled times men search for hope where they may,
But I will only put my trust, Lord, in the words You say;[2]
For, oh! the man that has no hope but the hope that comes from You!
How blessed is that man,[3] because his hopes will all come true!

Often I can feel temptation creeping up within;
My old and wicked nature tries to draw me back again.
But I must not despair, nor grow weary from the fight;
The Spirit of my God
is my Source of victorious might! [4]

In these troubled times men search for hope where they may,
But I will only put my trust, Lord, in the words You say;
For, oh! the man that has no hope but the hope that comes from You!
How blessed is that man, because his hopes will all come true!

Now, I don't pretend to know how soon my Saviour will return,
But every passing day marks one less day of my sojourn.
And every time I step outside I look up to the skies.
One day when I look up, oh! what a sight will meet my eyes! [5]

No more troubled times for all those covered by Your grace! [6]
At last we'll hear the word of God while looking on Your face! [7]
And every man who had no hope but the hope that came from You --
How blessed will he be, because his hopes will have come true!

[1] Isaiah 30.20-21
[2] Deuteronomy 8.3
[3] Psalm 146.5
[4] John 14.15-17
[5] Acts 1.11
[6] Revelation 21.3-5
[7] I Corinthians 13.12

13 February 2008

Valentine's Day Reflection

For a Sunbeam

By Edward Waters
(Copyright © 2003)

Her angels face
As the great eye of heauen shyned bright,
And made a sunshine in the shadie place;
Did neuer mortall eye behold such heauenly grace.
-- Edmund Spenser (The Faerie Queene I.iii.4)

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate ...
-- William Shakespeare (Sonnet XXIX)

Through the years I have heard a number of preachers in various pulpits warn married people against making idols of their spouses -- loving a wife or husband as much as one should love only God. I do not know that there is a connection, but I find it painfully ironic that the wife of every one of these preachers eventually filed for divorce.

Of course, it is true enough that we should always be wary of letting our love for anything compete with love for our Lord.[1] We should never exalt the creation over the Creator, or the gift over the Giver. However, it is also true that great evil often comes of overcompensating in one direction while trying to avoid some imagined evil in the other.

With all due respect to those preachers, I see more worth in the comment of another Bible teacher: that He loved God with all his heart and loved his wife with all his heart, and that he had not found the paradox to be a problem. While I am not certain precisely how that worked in his case, I do know that my relationship with my own wife has often proved, not competition, but in fact a good monitor or gauge of my relationship with God. When I fail Him, it frequently produces an 'echo' in my failing her somehow. And my love for her, rather than leaving less love for God, tends to deepen my gratitude and devotion toward Him and help me better appreciate His love for me. Even during the years when Cindy was being consumed by clinical depression, withdrawing emotionally and relationally from everyone -- including me -- and sometimes doing and saying things that hurt me more deeply than I will ever be able to express, I found myself considering again and again how my own thoughts, words, and deeds alienate me from the God who loves me, and how they must break His heart every moment of every day.

Most of all, however, the simple fact of my marriage has always been to me a miracle. I who almost always feel alone in a crowd, I who have such difficulty just making and keeping ordinary friends, I against all odds found the love of my life fairly early in life. No Christian apologist will ever be able to offer me more convincing proof of the existence, the power, the love, and the grace of God. In a song I wrote for and sang at our wedding, I told Cindy, 'Because you're joining me, I know I never really was alone.'

I am sure it is possible to make idols of those we love, but it is also significant that the Bible repeatedly charges us to demonstrate our love for God by showing love to those around us. 'Beloved,' wrote John, 'let us love one another; for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.'[2] 'Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these My brethren,' said Jesus, 'you have done it unto Me.'[3] And, of course: 'Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, in order that you may show yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven.'[4] We who believe are called 'the Body of Christ';[5] and, both collectively and individually, we are to embody Christ to the world. Chiefly, we do this by imitating His love.

There is an old children's song which begins, 'Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.' At first glance, a sunbeam bears little resemblance to that massive ball of fire spinning through space and holding our world in its orbit. Yet have you ever noticed, during a partial eclipse, how, shining between the leaves of some tree, every sunbeam mimics on the ground below that shape in the sky above, the one that is so dangerous for us to look at directly? So should we, through our love, remind others of the Source of love. And sometimes we may be all of Him they can see for the moment, either because they have never yet dared to face Him directly or because some pain has temporarily dimmed a believer's eyes.

Love can be counterfeited, of course. People often neglect or hurt those around them in the name of loving God. Or we may neglect God Himself as we seek our own affirmation under the guise of serving others. But real love can never compete with real love. 'We love, because He first loved us.'[6] When we surrender ourselves to the love of God, we learn love from Him, and it begins to permeate and transform everything. It manifests itself not only in our spiritual devotions, but in our human relationships. So not only can we love both God and one another, each with a whole heart; we are, in fact, commanded to do so.[7] The one leads to the other -- and is proved by it.

[1] Matthew 10.37; Luke 14.26
[2] I John 4.7
[3] Matthew 25.40
[4] Matthew 5.44,45
[5] I Corinthians 12.27
[6] I John 4.19
[7] Matthew 22.37-40

[The preceding is from the Lent 2003 issue of Stirrings of the Grey Wind, where it had been adapted by the author from a devotional delivered in October 2002 at Covenant Fellowship of Greensboro, North Carolina.]

02 December 2007

The True Miracle

Anyone else ...

Would have died in a miscarriage
on the hard road to Bethlehem ...
Would have perished of disease,
being born in a public stable ...
Would have been among the countless infants
who were slaughtered in Herod's jealous rage ...
Would have grown up only to be
stoned to death as a heretic
for speaking the Truth ...
Would have drowned
in the storm on the Sea of Galilee ...
Would have STAYED dead when crucified.

But not Messiah ...

* * *

'The light shines in the darkness;
And the darkness did not overpower it.'
(John 1.5)

This year,
May you discover the true miracle of Christmas.

His name is Jesus.

* * *


(Copyright © 1985, 2007 by Edward Waters)

[See also 'The Christmas Spirit' -- Edward's short essay on celebration and wonder in the Season of the Incarnation]

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