In a Mood to be Woo’d?

“We should be woo’d and were not made to woo.” 

That’s a line by Helena in William Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (II, i, 242).

Helena has been cast into the role of pursuer, with Demetrius as the object of her desire, a reversal of roles which she finds scandalous.

Reading this confronted me with the reality of how I, in my impatience, fail to wait as a bride for my bridegroom. I run headlong into the woods pursuing lesser-loves bent on my demise. Scandalous!

Christ is a love-struck bridegroom. Out to pursue us. Out to woo us, to make us his own.

Why then do we cast ourselves into the unnatural role of pursuer of our own loves? Those “other gods,” those “idols” that promise fulfillment, but leave us ravished.

Deep idols like power, approval, comfort, control that we seek to fulfill through surface idols like money, spouse, children, or sex.

Ever felt ravished by chasing other lovers, torn to pieces like wild beasts? Can you tell the difference between being “lured” and being “wooed?”

I find waiting for Christ’s promised return gut-wrenching and faith-bending. The preparation holds refining and suffering. Long, long-suffering.

So, am I in a mood to be woo’d? Will I wait for what I expect? Will I keep looking for signs that my supreme lover is indeed wooing and pursuing?

Today, I stumbled on a poem I penned 8 years ago. I hope it stirs up courage and patience and alertness in you, like it did afresh for me:

Bridegroom!  Call My Name.

I watch the veil of your glory

Lift and fall over mountain ranges.

Such beauty reveals, yet hides your strength.

Your winds whisper your astonishment at my beauty.

Beauty formed by your handiwork in my deepest places.

Places where you’ve fashioned trust with your words:

“I will never leave you or forsake you.”

To which I respond:

“I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.”

O when will you return?

Don’t hold back any longer.

Fountain of purity and longing

Spring up in me.

In your trust, I will wait.

Your trust and my hope wrap around each other.

They twist and entwine with each other.

Flocks of geese gather today’s grain

From Autumns’ stubble.

Sentinels posted on corners keep watch.

So I keep watch.

Immersed in daily business I watch.

Watch to guard my heart.

Watch to catch first glimpse of your garments.

How long O Lord, must I wait to see

Your arms stretched toward me?

In darkness, I hear rain softly drip

Downward from leaf to leaf.

Could that be your footsteps?

My longings stretch forth to grasp

The words you’ve left me with.

And I wait.

But I don’t want your words.

I want you.

Bridegroom!  Call my name.

I will appear before you.

Let tears of anticipation and joy

Well up and burst from your eyes

As you behold the bride you’ve made.

Made to take your breath away with a gaze.

My longings for you come between me

And all the feasts of the earth.

How much longer until I hear:

“Arise, come with me my darling,

My beautiful one, come with me.”

~Ron Silflow~

 

“Back from the Brink” or “Big Mama meets Marshawn Lynch”

Things got messy.

Big Mama, near death from a condition called milk fever, needs a strong dose of calcium delivered straight to the jugular vein. She’s sprawled out on her side but needs to be on her sternum, no easy feat. Even the pigeon’s, roosting in the barn rafters, silenced their cooing.

I sat in the near-frozen slurry of muck beside her with my back against hers, my feet in a tucked position ready to give a heave to set her upright. Her warmth radiated through my layers of coats and shirts to give a momentary respite to my shivering. Screwing up my courage for the task, I launched backward with every muscle, bone and sinew of my frame against her 1200-pound slumped mass.

My legs churned. Picture a combination of Marshawn Lynch leg-strength and Road Runner leg-speed. In reverse. My raucous grunts and Big Mama’s mournful moans echoed through the cavernous cowshed.

It worked.

Big Mama was now in position for remedy. The pigeon’s resumed their soft cry.

I pulled the remedy, a bottle with calcium and other minerals dissolved in liquid, from the bucket of warm water I’d brought along. It served as an incubator and took the chill off the tonic. Next, I plunged a large IV needle into Big Mama’s jugular vein protruding, like a garden hose, along the furrow running between the muscles in her neck. The solution slowly dripped through rubber tubing to replenish the calcium devoid in her bloodstream and craved by her brain.

Thirty minutes after I removed the IV needle, Big Mama stood!

She cast a glance my way wondering, “Why all the fuss?”

Back from the brink, she spun to get a mouthful of silage hay from the feed bunk, eyed an obstacle, then,

Big Mama kicked the bucket!

She did it with an attitude of, “Where, O death, is your sting!?”

I retrieved the dented pail, felt God’s profound pleasure, and turned my attention to other duties, including a clean pair of Wrangler’s.

Take A Deep Breath of Remember. Is the barnyard crammed with heaven? Can I see Christ in this story? Is there a gospel parallel hidden in the events of my ordinary life?

Ponder with me:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:3-4, NIV)

Prayer: Glorious Heavenly Father, I am but dust and will return to dust. But, that’s not the end of the story. Just as You raised Your son Jesus from the dead, You deliver me from the brink of eternal death. You raise me, too, from death to a new and glorious eternal life with You. Thank you for revealing this glimpse of Your glory as I participate in caring for Your creation. It comforts me as I tread this broken world waiting for the return of my King. Amen.

Photo: Ron Silflow, Hyalite Canyon near Bozeman, MT

Manger

Manger

I know not how you found me

In such unlikely place.

Mary laid You in my heart.

Cold, stone, manger of a heart.

 

Your beams began their warming,

My soul to penetrate.

Yes your beams sang forth their shine

Where marrow and bone entwine.

 

O’erflow a manger with life.

Of things cut down and slain.

Provender for lowly beast,

God Himself the blessed feast.

 

You work Your ways in secret,

Yet angels sing it ‘broad.

O manger, spill forth glory.

Spill forth this Christmas story.