As we enter the sphere of radiance of the divine word, we know from experience that this word not only communicates knowledge about God but hidden within the garb of the letter, the divine qualities. In itself, it is an overpowering manifestation of God’s infinity and truth, His majesty and love. As the psalmist said, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalms 8:3-4)
We love because He first loved us. ( 1 John 4:19) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18) God’s word is His invitation to us to be with Him in Truth. God’s word is Himself, His most vital, His innermost self: His only-begotten Son, of the same nature as Himself, sent into the world to bring it home, back to Him. How are we embracing this Truth and living it out?
“I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.” (The Song of Solomon 7:10) This sets the stage in confidence and assurance of the Lord’s love for us as we, according to the following verses 11 to 13, go out into the fields and lodge in the villages with Him; to go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There we will give Him our love. The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which He has laid up for us.
It is for those who truly choose to love Christ to consider that all we have, even our most pleasant fruits, and what we have treasured up most carefully, too little to be bestowed upon Him, that, He is welcome to it all; if it were more and better, it should be at His service. It is all from Him, and therefore it should be all for Him. The gracious discoveries of Christ’s love to us engage us greatly to rejoice in the hold He has of us, His sovereignty over us and property in us, which is no less a spring of comfort than a bond of duty.
This is not about romanticizing our relationship we can have with our Lord Jesus. This intimacy of communion with Christ is not what the world today has perceived love to be. Our perceived love today is a far-cry from what is portrayed here–a love that comes with assurance and gives confidence to withstand the storms & toils in life. This love is not contained just within the two parties involved. There is no way to be self-centered. We are required to go out to the fields and lodge in the villages. The hard labour in the fields and the lodging in the villages in wait for buds and blossoms will not be in vain because He is with us. We have to start our races in life girded with this intimacy of communion with Christ. Glorying in this, that we are His, to serve Him, and reckoning that our honour, we comfort ourselves with this, that His desire is towards us, that is, He is our husband; it is a periphrasis of the conjugal relation (Genesis 3:16) that we can have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that we may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12)
Who we are, will not be built on what we have. Who we are, will not be stemmed from what we do. Who we are, will not be rooted from what people say or think of us. Who we are, will then be nothing more than our worst moments and who we are, will be nothing less than our best moments. Who we are, can be built on everlasting assurance, stemmed from eternal hope and rooted from God’s unceasing love because we are our beloved’s, and His desire is for us.
Prayer by Hans Urs von Balthasar
Who Are We?: Henri Nouwen on Our Christian Identity
(Featured image: Osulloc Tea Museum, Jeju Island, South Korea; September 2018)