Found in drafts folder from last summer. Mea Culpa. This was part of the writings by a group of us who read Sacred Romance last summer and wrote about it. Wrote a lot about it! My apologies to Amy Jo for my delay in posting this, but she did include a quote about April which makes it seem as though it was meant for now. Maybe it was…
Amy Jo and her husband, Damon
EPILOGUE: Remembering Toward Heaven
From Amy Jo: How lovely that Tolkien, T.S. Eliot and Annie Dillard should all be quoted in the epilogue! Interspersed in our authors’ final thoughts, there are jewels I must point out…
On Living From Desire: It is in this section that the authors quote T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land,
“April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire.”
“Sadly, many of us have been led to feel that somehow we ought to want less, not more. We have this sense that we should atone for our longings, apologize that we feel such deep desire. Shouldn’t we be more content? Perhaps, but contentment is never wanting less, that’s the easy way out. Anybody can look holy if she’s killed her heart; the real test is to have your heart burning within you and have the patience to enjoy what there is now to enjoy, while waiting with eager anticipation for the feast to come.” (p.199)
On Rehearsing the Story: “Our acts of remembering must therefore involve both essential truths and dramatic narrative. I believe we need to hold the creeds in on hand and our favorite forms of art in the other. There are films, books, poems, songs, and paintings I return to again and again for some deep reason in my heart. Taking a closer look, I see that they all tell me about some part of the Sacred Romance. They help wake me to a deeper remembrance. As Don Hudson has said, ‘Art is, in the final analysis, a window on heaven.'” (p.205) It is my opinion that the last two sections, Where We Have Come From and Where We Are Headed, are part of the very rehearsing the authors recommend. I am encouraged by the quote of Annie Dillard on p. 209, “The world is fairly studded and strewn with unwrapped gifts and free surprises… cast broadside from a generous hand.” These gifts and free surprises are to me, what inspires encouragement to live, a desire to dream of the future, and an insatiable urge to see, imitate, manufacture, and praise God for beauty.
May God use these things often to refresh my memory of His faithful and Sacred Romance!
Yes! Yes! Yes! Thanks, Amy Jo! And AMEN!
PS – April is being kind of cruel…S n o w ! ? ! today…
Yikeronis! In April, four friends: Heather, Candi, Amy Jo and me, set out to read and write our responses to the now-classic The Sacred Romance-Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. We were going great guns for a time, but life and stuff jumped right in front of our momentum and we have never quite finished…yet. I published my thoughts to Chapter 12 about 2 months ago (see here). There is really just Chapter 12 and the epilogue left (wow! I LOVED the epilogue!), but, by golly, we are GOING to finish! Hopefully before the holidays…
Chapter Twelve: Coming Home
From the infamous, crazy artistic, wildly creative and sensitive Amy Jo:
“Our hearts cannot live without hope… Our courage for the journey so often falters because we’ve lost our hope of heaven-the consummation of our Love Story.” (p. 178)
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” (C.S. Lewis, p. 180)
Ah… temporal ennui… my old “friend,” my frequent companion, my gift, my curse.
I, as Jeanie did, grew up with a heaven-focused crowd. I even had a lapel pin on the corkboard in my childhood bedroom that read “Perhaps Today.” Fittingly, it helped hold up a little poster that read (and yes, I’m typing this from memory):
“This world is not my home, although it seems to be. My home is with my God, in the place He’s made for me. He’s coming back real soon-the signs are very clear. So when the trumpet sounds, I’ll be out of here!”
Cute, huh? I liked it. But there is always the danger of being “so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” This is a balance I struggle with because (contrary to popular belief) I do NOT always love life. I wrestle OFTEN with my “calling,” whatever that may be. I wonder ALWAYS what I’m supposed to be doing with my time here on earth. I do know however, that I am to love God and love people, using the gifts and personality God was pleased to give me. Here, let me quote for you the personal “Mission Statement” I wrote for myself in 2007:
“I want my life to be characterized-most of all-by love for God and love for people. Therefore I will seek to do so in as many ways as I can imagine and am able. Never will I allow myself to become embittered by what sorrows and perceived injustices I may experience in my journey through life. I vow to strive always to see, imitate, manufacture, and praise God for beauty. I always want to confidently protect and promote truth and light. I want to be proud of how I conduct myself in any given situation. When others spend time with me, I want them to leave feeling refreshed, invigorated, inspired, loved, and valued. I want to bring out the best in those around me. When God looks at me, I want Him to say, “She is mine. She knows me and loves me. I am pleased by her.”
The authors of The Sacred Romance call us to dream of heaven, imagining wildly about what heaven will offer our heart of hearts-beyond the clouds, fat white cherubs, harps, and boringness that has become so cliché in our culture. “If faith and love hang on hope, if a life without hope is as Paul says ‘to be pitied’ (1 Cor. 15:19), then shouldn’t we devote ourselves to recovering a vision for the end of our story in as vivid colors as our imagination can conceive?” (p.180) The authors urge us to consider these in our imaginings: intimacy, beauty, adventure, and arrival. I will highlight my favorite parts of each section.
On Intimacy: “There we shall receive our new name, known only to our Lover, which He shall give to us on a white stone (Rev. 2.17)… To tell the name is to seal the success-to say, ‘In thee also I am well pleased.” (p.183) How my heart longs to hear these words from my God! (See above Mission Statement.)
On Beauty:“So it goes with all things on earth: The beauty that so captures our heart and is so fleeting draws us toward the eternal reality.” (p.186) (See above Mission Statement.)
On Adventure: “We will worship God in heaven, meaning all of life will finally be worship, not round after round of ‘Amazing Grace’.” (p. 188) YAY! “Part of the adventure will be to explore the wonders of the new heaven and new earth, the most breathtaking of which will be God Himself. We will have all eternity to explore the mysteries of God, and not just explore, but celebrate and share with one another.” (p. 189)
On Arrival: “One day soon we will round a bend in the road and our dreams will come true. We really will live happily ever after. The long years in exile will be swept away in the joyful tears of our arrival home. Every day when we rise, we can tell ourselves, My journey today will bring me closer to home; it may be just around the bend. All we long for we shall have; all we long to be, we will be. All that has hurt us so deeply-the dragons and nits, the Arrows and our false lovers, and Satan himself-they will all be swept away. And then real life begins.” (p.193)
In closing my review of this chapter on heaven, I’d like to just put out a challenge to those of you who love music-try making a “Heaven Playlist” on your ipod or computer… or even just using pen and paper. There are SO many songs out there referencing heaven; so many songs out there produced out of-I am convinced-the calling of the Sacred Romance. Perhaps in creating / listening to your “Heaven Playlist” you will hear the call of our Romancer-and just MAYBE you will begin to break free from our “modern” boring ideas of heaven. Here are a few I’d recommend to get you started:
“What Do I Know?” by Sara Groves, from Conversations
“My Deliverer” and “That Where I Am, There You…” by Rich Mullins, from The Jesus Record
“I Can Hear the Angels Singing” by David Crowder Band, from B Collision
“The Third Heaven” by Carmen, from Addicted to Jesus
“Un Lugar Celestial” (A Heavenly Place) by Jaci Velasquez, from Heavenly Place
Thanks, Amy Jo. LOVE you!…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Learn to be more imaginative about heaven. I CAN only imagine…
pictured: Amy Jo created the prayer and worship interactives for Heaven Fest this past summer.