Thursday, April 30, 2009
A very close friend of mine who teaches religion at a seminary told me not long ago, and I paraphrase, "Personal religion or expressing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is a sign of pure arrogance." He speaks with absolute venom when the idea of having a personal God who loves each one of us individually. The more we talk about it, the more angry he gets.
Now I love this guy and we have a good relationship. We respect each other's views and agree to disagree.
I won't hazard to guess as to why he comes to this conclusion, other than he's had a great deal of disillusion with evangelical Christianity. He attended a conservative seminary and got his masters and doctorate at a noted liberal seminary. But his mind was made up long before he got his advanced degrees.
Now why do I bring him up? Out of love for the man and to protect his identity, I won't reveal his name. But I mention this because this is the prevailing view of many people. He is also one who is a product of the description of the hazards I began to bring up a couple of posts ago regarding those who linger, sit and absorb the thought of a world that denies God as shown in Psalm One.
I'll return to Psalm One soon, but today, I was praying and listening to the Morning Prayers of the Divine Liturgy as presented on the Divine Office website. The hymn sung in preparation was the great old hymn, "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desire" sung by the great singer Mary Mancini. It was a magnificent rendition.
The words are a slight update of Bach's "Jesu, Thou Joy of Man's desiring." The translation I post here is simply in more modern terms. Plus, I'm trying not to break any copywrite laws. The words go,
I don't know about you, but this sure looks like a personal communication/prayer. How more personal can you get, than "Jesus, joy of man's desiring"? Jesus, you are my joy, my wisdom, my love. Jesus I'm drawn to you, my soul aspires, longs, thirsts for you. I feel like soaring like an eagle whenever I worship you.
Sounds like a personal expression of love to one who loves us. Read those words, embrace them, and then tell me if that is not a personal expression of love. Drink of joy from deathless springs. What a picture of total intoxication with one who is love. And then those final words, "Thou dost ever lead Thine own in the love of joys unknown."
I'm sorry folks, but this great hymn by Johann Sebastian Bach expresses in a grand manner the entire story of a compassionate loving God, who from Genesis to Revelation has stepped out of Heaven to enter into our world to establish personal and national relationships with the people he loved dearly, culminating in the greatest act of love on Calvary. How can you not respond with the words of Bach.
O Abba, Jesus, Holy Spirit, I love you from the well springs of my being. May we as your children learn to love you and others as you have loved us.
Posted by RichnHim at 7:34 AM