“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?” “I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee. ~Charles Wesley
As the cold chains of memory and wrath Fall from our hearts before we are aware, Their rusty locks all picked by patient prayer, Till closed doors open… ~Malcolm Guite from “Peace”
These weeks of Lent are a time for me to remember my chains; they are invisible compared to all the rusty chains everywhere on our farm, but, in truth, are just as restrictive to freedom.
I’m fettered not only by the chains imposed by the limitations of a selfish society, but primarily by chains I have made myself, needing no help from anyone as I add link after link until I’m completely weighed down and immobilized.
We are bound to our sin as if by chains, locked tight with the key thrown away, pitiful in our imprisonment. Saturation with the gospel and heart-felt prayer are the only keys that will spring the lock, unclasp the chains, unbind our hands and feet, free our souls, loose us to live fully as images of our Creator.
Remember my chains? How can I forget? I have been handed the key to freedom.
This year’s Lenten theme for Barnstorming is a daily selection from songs and hymns about Christ’s profound sacrifice on our behalf.
If we remain silent about Him, the stones themselves will shout out and start to sing (Luke 19:40).
In His name, may we sing…
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14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
For me it is the virgin birth, the Incarnation, the resurrection which are the true laws of the flesh and the physical. Death, decay, destruction are the suspension of these laws. I am always astonished at the emphasis the Church puts on the body. It is not the soul she says that will rise but the body, glorified. ~Flannery O’Connor in a letter written in 1955
Good is the flesh that the Word has become, good is the birthing, the milk in the breast, good is the feeding, caressing and rest, good is the body for knowing the world, Good is the flesh that the Word has become.
Good is the body for knowing the world, sensing the sunlight, the tug of the ground, feeling, perceiving, within and around, good is the body, from cradle to grave, Good is the flesh that the Word has become.
Good is the body, from cradle to grave, growing and aging, arousing, impaired, happy in clothing, or lovingly bared, good is the pleasure of God in our flesh, Good is the flesh that the Word has become.
Good is the pleasure of God in our flesh, longing in all, as in Jesus, to dwell, glad of embracing, and tasting, and smell, good is the body, for good and for God, Good is the flesh that the Word has become. ~Brian Wren Good is the Flesh: Body, Soul, and Christian Faith
The Word was made flesh. This one verse in John is the crux, the heart, the center point of the Gospel. Without God putting on flesh to become like us, He is not one of us. He is fully God and fully man — both.
He comes from the body of a mother, born a baby frail and weak, just like us. He hurts, He thirsts, He hungers, He stumbles, He falls, He weeps. And He dies as we do.
Yet this God, our God, rises again to walk, speak, eat, and be touched so that we too may rise as He does. The Word was made flesh so our flesh, weak and frail though we are, becomes His body glorified.
The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. We beheld the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth. In the beginning was the Word, The Word was with God. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. He came to his own, and his own received him not.
There is a fragrance in the air, a certain passage of a song, an old photograph falling out from the pages of a book, the sound of somebody’s voice in the hall that makes your heart leap and fills your eyes with tears. Who can say when or how it will be that something easters up out of the dimness to remind us of a time before we were born and after we will die?
God himself does not give answers. He gives himself. ~Frederick Buechner from Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale
The wild plum trees have been blooming now for a couple weeks and the flowering cherries are about to burst. This despite 20 degree nights after nearly 60 degree days. It is winter at night and the perfumed air of spring permeates the day. Such extreme variability is disorienting, like standing in a spotlight in a dark room.
Yet this is what eastering is like. It is the awakening out of a restless sleep, the opening of a door to let in fresh air, the rolling back of the stone that has locked us in.
I could weep for a quiet love like this, the kind of love they don’t write movies about, but the Maker writes down in a book of His own.
It’s not the kind of flashy that makes any red carpet, but it’s the kind of unforgettable love that runs red.
It doesn’t matter one iota what the checkout glossies tout: Sacrifice is the most attractive of all. And boring love is what touches the deepest– our lives boring down deep into each other’s hearts. And I have loved you as the hero-of-few-words who has rescued me day in and day out, without any fanfare or flash.
You have lived and bore the weight of it —- I am far worse than I ever dreamed.
And yet you have loved me beyond what I could ever dream.
You have lived Gospel to me.
~Ann Voskamp from aholyexperience.com
On a day celebrated for honoring Love,
I grieve that women — mothers and daughters
who know nothing of slavery,
who know nothing but freedom,
seek out and pay out
for a fantasy of seduction,
blinded and bound by books and movie
that have nothing to do
with honor or love.
Give me boring gray love rich in so many shades:
love that bores deep into the other’s heart
before, throughout and beyond the gray.
The shades of gray in my life
will not be covered with dye and make believe,
but celebrated as reflecting
love not forsaken,
not for any one
or any reason.
We declare it to all who are to come after.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:18