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Have I told you lately that I love you?



My late father in law, Frank, had a habit of singing, out loud to himself, as he did little projects around the house. The man was a retired Marine Corp Colonel and when I first met him I was intimidated by his sometimes gruff exterior, but boy he had a heart the size of Montana, and boy he loved to sing songs.

Or should I say one part of one verse of songs: He'd settle on one line of a song, and sing it over and over, all day long.

The song, or verse, itself would change from year to year: Mary and I would go down to Key West and visit them once or twice a year and you never knew what he'd have settled on.

One year, I remember, it was Frank's version of (Rod Stewart's version of) Van Morrison's, "Have I told you lately."

And what a great song that is - and deeply spiritual. Apparently Morrison wrote it as a love song, describing how he felt about God:  

Have I told you lately that I love you?
Have I told you there's no one else above you?   
Fill my heart with gladness,
take away all my sadness,
ease my troubles, that's what you do.

You fill my life with laughter
and somehow you make it better
ease my troubles that's what you do   

There's a love that's Divine
and it's yours and it's mine like the sun   
And at the end of the day
we should give thanks and pray
to the One, to the One.

Except, as I said, with my father in law, only one verse of a song seemed to really register with him, and so we never got all that: all we ever heard was

"have I told you lately that I love you" ...

[Putter around garage]

"have I told you lately that I love you" ...

[Open grill lid, peek in...grumble...]

"huh, this grill lid rusted shut again...have I told you lately that I love you" ...

[Open freezer door.]

"ah, who would've put the chum bag back in the freezer right next to the...have I told you lately that I love you...)

Well, Frank was onto something.

He was onto a deep theological truth:

Recall that one of the prayers we say during communion is "We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love you have made known to us."

Many people think of God as mystery...far off...and powerful.

And those things are true about God. God is mysterious, transcendent, and immensely powerful!  

But at the same time, that Mysterious Far-off Power is full of goodness and love, and that Mysterious Far-off Power chooses not to keep that goodness and love a secret, but rather chooses to make it known to us.

You may not be used to thinking of the Bible this way, but it really is the greatest romance ever written:

  • from the creation story where God moves from a formless, dark void to light, land, sea and sky, to vegetation, to "fish and fowl, porpoises and red-tailed hawks," onto wild animals, "the crescendo starting to swell, like a great symphony building and surging higher and higher" until the triumph of God's handiwork: man and woman...(Eldredge, Wild at Heart)
  • to the call of Abraham, and the Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph stories in Genesis, to the call of Moses and rescue of the people Israel in Exodus, to the Samuel and Solomon stories...
  • through God's Word in the poetry of the Psalms and Proverbs as well as the pleadings of prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea,

God's goodness and love is made known to us - God is saying, "have I told you lately that I love you?"

And above all: we believe, as Christians, that God's goodness and love has been made known to us when God's Word became flesh: Jesus.

Jesus: God-as-human-being.

Jesus: God being made known to us in a way that we can understand God.

Jesus: God saying, "hey, humanity-have I told you lately that I love you?"


But wait: there's more!

God's self-disclosure, God's revelation, God's goodness and love being made known to the world, continues through the ministries of the church.

In our outreach ministries, in our children and youth ministries, in our pastoral care and fellowship times together, in our worship, in the care of our property, and especially in the countless ways that you and I live out our faith in our day-in-and-day-out lives...
...in all those ways, God's goodness and love continues to make itself known.
...in all those ways, God continues to say to us and to the world,

Have I told you lately that I love you?

Comments

  1. Found your blog completely be accident, but so thoroughly enjoyed today's post. Now I will have to read all of the previous posts, and visit your site on a daily basis. Keep up the good work!

    Tamara Settles
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    ReplyDelete

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