they can't take that away from me.
No, the cam't take that
away from me...."
Okay, so the lyrics to "They Can't Take That Away," by Ella Fitzgerald, don't really work for the long haul. But the above refrain really spoke to me this afternoon as I was thinking about what is real, and what, as Mary Baker Eddy suggests, "...is delusive." Especially, for me, in light of subjects like love and salvation.
Bear with me...please....
We refer to Jesus as the "Saviour," and his ministry, as one that is salvation-focused. But we also think of him...in some cases, primarily, as a healer who actually defined the standard of compasssion, grace, mercy, meekness, unselfishness...love.
So, what do those Love-based qualities, of thought and behavior, have to do with salvation? Everything...I believe.
In a previous post, "I Get on my Knees," I talked about my grandfather's salvage business. About driving through the streets of their town, bouncing around in the cab of his old dumptruck looking for discarded refrigerators, stoves, mixers, vacuumn cleaners. My grandfather knew every essential element buried beneath peeling out-dated paint and scratched chrome...he saw 16 yards of copper tubing, iron burner plates, tin, brass, aluminum....he saw what had enduring value.
He saw beneath the surface of the details, trends, brand names, and labels...details that were as changeable and fading as that old Harvest Gold paint job, and the particular usage of each elements at any given time....to the very purest, most essential substance. A copper tube could be melted down and turned into a saute pan, a bracelet...then melted down again in 75 years and used again for another purpose. The copper itself would be untouched, unadulterated by the specifics of its use...it would never lose its essential character.
So what does this have to do with Jesus, and love? For me, well...everything. When we break the trappings of personality, history, heredity, and privilege down and see them as simply context, branding, setting, age, usage...paint jobs and logos...we are left with one thing, man's inviolable substance -- love. Our desire to love and be loved. Our spiritually inherent desire to live lives that are rich with opportunity. Opportunities to discover the depth, breadth and height of our right...and ability...to love unconditionally.
It is this essential relationship to Love, God, that can never be taken away from me. Throw me in a prison...I can still love. Cut off my tongue...I can still love. Malign, betray, defile and abuse me...I can still love. Make me cry...I can still love. There is nothing you can do to me, that deprives me of my right to love...anyone, any circumstance, anything. I am empowered by what you cannot take from me...my right to love.
So, that's what I've been thinking about tonight...camp is, as always, wonderful beyond words...