Absence

Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great.”

Comte de Bussy-Rabutin
Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules “Maximes d’Amours”

Can’t Just Walk Away

“You were right about that tree thing, the love tree, or whatever you called it. I am not ready to let the tree die. MaryAnne and I have given each other the best of ourselves and maybe the worst, too, but either way, we both own a significant portion of each other. That’s not something you can just walk away from.”

from “Catherine’s Telegram” in The Letter by Richard Paul Evans, p. 247

 

God (from Everyman)

I perceive, here in my majesty,
How that all creatures be to me unkind,
Living without dread in worldly prosperity.
Of ghostly sight the people be so blind,
Drowned in sin, they know me not for their God.
In worldly riches is all their mind:
They fear not of my righteousness the sharp rod;
My law that I showed when I for them died
They forget clean, and shedding of my blood red.
I hanged between two, it cannot be denied:
To get them life I suffered to be dead.
I healed their feet, with thorns hurt was my head.
I could do no more than I did, truly—
And now I see the people do clean forsake me.
They use the seven deadly sins damnable,
As pride, avarice, wrath, and lechery
Now in the world be made commendable.
And thus they leave of angels the heavenly company.
Every man liveth so after his own pleasure,
And yet the more that I them forbear,
The worse they be from year to year:
All that liveth degenerates fast.
Therefore I will, in all the haste,
Have a reckoning of every man’s person.
For if I leave the people thus alone
In their life and wicked tempests,
Verily they will become much worse than beasts;
For now one would by envy another up eat.
Charity do they all clean forget.
I hoped well that every man
In my glory should make his mansion,
And thereto I had them all elect.
But now I see, like traitors deject,
They thank me not for the pleasure that I to them meant,
Nor yet for their being that I them have lent.

from Everyman, after 1485

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

This is the second in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read this series from the beginning.

 

 

Squirrel Fever

“Lord, David, you talk ‘bout love like it a hole. Somethin’ you can fall in and out of.”
“Isn’t it?”
“…That ain’t love at all, just squirrel fever. Just a storm of emotions…. Man sees a pretty skirt and calls it love. Most women folk ain’t much smarter. Give more credence to butterflies than friendship. Real love ain’t that way. It’s more like a tree or plant or somethin’.”
“How is that?”
“Grows if you take mind of it. But it takes work and sacrifices. No one stand back of a neglected tree and watch it die and say, ‘Guess that tree just ain’t suppose to live.’ Only a fool would talk like that. But people do it all the time with their loves.”

from “A Glass Sliver” in The Letter by Richard Paul Evans, pp. 107-8

Messenger (from Everyman)

I pray you all give your audience,
And hear this matter with reverence,
By figure a moral play.
The Summoning of Everyman called it is,
That of our lives and ending shows
How transitory we be all day.
The matter is wonder precious,
But the intent of it is more gracious
And sweet to bear away.
The story saith: Man, in the beginning
Look well, and take good heed to the ending,
Be you never so gay.
You think sin in the beginning full sweet,
Which in the end causeth the soul to weep,
When the body lieth in clay.
Here shall you see how fellowship and jollity,
Both strength, pleasure, and beauty,
Will fade from thee as flower in May.
For ye shall hear how our Heaven-King
Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning.
Give audience and hear what he doth say.

from Everyman, after 1485

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

For the next few Sundays I’ll give you bit and pieces from this allegory, as much to educate as to entertain.

 

After Sharp Showers

“After sharp showers,” said Peace, “the sun shines brightest;
No weather is warmer than after watery clouds;
Nor any love lovelier, or more loving friends,
Than after war and woe when Love and Peace are masters.
There was never war in this world or wickedness so sharp
That Love, if he like, might make a laughing matter.
And Peace through patience puts an end to all perils.”

from Piers Plowman, ca. 1372-1389

 

Merciful Wounds

If it takes the wounds of a cherished friend to teach me more of my Savior, then I welcome them in spite of their pain. If it takes the wounds of a cherished friend to take me to the Cross, I welcome them as scars of God’s love upon my open hands that have been forced by grace to release their stubborn grip.

—Holly Stratton

Fireworks

 

Fireworks 02

The fireworks went on for nearly half an hour, great pulsing strobes, fiery dandelions and starbursts of light brightening both sky and water. It was hard to tell which was reality and which was reflection, as if there were two displays, above and below, going on simultaneously—one in space-time, mused Max, and the other in time-space.

Sol Luckman, Snooze: A Story of Awakening

Impressions

If you can’t see the sun you will be impressed with a street light. If you’ve never felt thunder and lightning you’ll be impressed with fireworks. And if you turn your back on the greatness and majesty of God you’ll fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures.

John Piper

Loving Difficult People

What if you made it to the end of your life having loved only those who loved you back? Loving difficult people is a harder path of faith, but it’s also where His greatest work begins in our own heart. It’s where we begin to learn new lessons like, “getting them before they get you” doesn’t make us stronger. Or that living on the defense all the time leaves us little energy to battle what really matters. “Lord, …I am well loved by You, and I ask that You help me love others in the same way.”

—Suzanne Eller