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He calls us each by name, He enfolds us with his love, He sends us out to serve.
Into the arena of everyday life the Living Christ invades. Loving, wooing, calling us to Himself,
He pursues us each -- as the Lover seeks His beloved -- until all our attempts to find meaning,
love, peace, culminate in our being found by Him.
Not knowing who or what it was that sought us, we often have ignored the tender voice of the
divine Lover. But sorrier still are the times we fled...not because we didn't recognize His voice,
but because we heard it all to clearly.
Incessantly tracked by the Hound of Heaven, we fled that voice, which "beat more instant than the
feet." (1) We fled Him "down the nights and down the days," (2) hoping that someway, somehow,
the piercing sound of His call would cease. Yet out of His mercy He withholds our desire,
meeting instead our deeper need. For God has made us for Himself, and our souls remains restless
until they rest in Him. (3)
He call to us in solitude; yet even amid the fevered rush of life's traffic, His calling persists. It may
be dulled by the inward and outward turmoil of our lives, but it is never overcome. It may be
ignored because we prefer to remain in darkness rather than to come into the Light, but it is never
extinguished. Despite the clamoring of inward "oughts" and outward "musts," the one voice
beyond the many breaks through with awesome clarity. It tell us we are loved; for He calls each of
us by name.
Enveloped in the rich warmth of the divine Lover's Presence, we begin to experience wholeness
such as we never had known before. The realization that we are loved enabled us to lift our
defenses and examine our lives. Standing open before God, we no longer fear confessing our
failure and our heartaches. As we look honestly at ourselves we become aware of our need before
God, and Christ's invitation to take our pain begins to come alive in a marvelous new way.
I experienced an analogy to this process when I visited with an elderly gentleman whose wife had
died the previous evening. As we shared together, tears began to well up in one eye, and then the
other. He began to weep softly, and a flurry of "things to say" rushed through my mind -- as
though that were the only way to help. At the time, however, words did not seem appropriate. As
I took his hand I said, "Friend, I'm not going to say anything for the next few moments. Just let
me take your pain."
During the following moments I pictured the closeness this couple had shared over the last half
century. I focused on the joy and pain, mingled together until his loss and agony became a part of
me. I'm not sure what happened during the silence, but after a few moments I noticed that his
breathing became easier and tears no longer flowed. The quiet was broken by a sigh and a
statement, "You know, I think it's beginning to help. Thank you...thank you."
There I began to see a new, clear picture of how God enfolds us with His love and brings healing
into our lives. As I drove home, the image came so clearly of the Present Christ, with hand
outstretched, saying, "Friend, let Me take your pain. Let Me enfold you with My Love and bring
you a healing power beyond your own." And this hand is reaching out to each of us, now.
As we learn to clasp the outstretched hand of our Lord, we find that the debilitating
disappointments of life lose their grip for us. For He was wounded to receive our injuries. He
became failure to erase our failings. It was He who bore our sorrows in HIs body on the tree. And
by His stripes we are healed.
The frozen nightmare of the past melt before the One who declared to the paralytic, "Your sins
The exhausting anxieties of today are eased by the One who invited the woman at the well,
saying, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give shall never thirst."
The dread uncertainties of the future are overcome by the One who proclaimed to the confessing
thief on the cross, "Today you shall be with me in paradise."
The Present Christ calls us each by name; He enfolds us with His love; and then, He send us out
to serve. As our pain is dealt with, at last we are freed to life our eyes beyond ourselves and to
focus on the needs of those around us. No longer do we find our energies consumed in the task of
protecting our easily threatened pride. We are given the radical privilege of participating in the
ministry of our Lord. We become agents of the very grace and reconciliation that we ourselves
Having chosen to listen for His loving voice and having chosen to take His hand in faith, another
choice yet remains. It is the choice between the two basins: the basin of the palace and the basin
of the upper room.
The difference between the two basins is basically the difference between self-preservation and
servanthood. Although Pilate sought to preserve his innocence by washing his hands and denying
his debt, he could not. Yet this truth remains: they that try to preserve their lives lose them, while
they that find life, find it by laying down their lives for others. This was illustrated by our Lord. At
the last supper He stooped beside each of the Twelve and tenderly washed their feet. The message
behind this cleansing was far more important than the act itself. Jesus didn't just leave His
disciples with the commandment to love people -- He demonstrated it by becoming their Servant.
In a world characterized by selfishness, the way of our Lord poses a dramatic contrast. The most
striking statement ever uttered is "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve." The
Present Christ invites us each to follow His example, and through His Spirit we are given the
ability to do so. It is then that our loves become healing love for others.
As we learn to abide in Christ and He in us, we find that all things become new. On one hand,
nothing matters -- in comparison to His Presence. On the other hand, everything matters because
of His love. By faith we receive His grace; and yet it is by His grace that we are enabled to be
faithful to the calling at hand.
The Living Christ confronts us each, saying, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." His call is
clear,yet He awaits our invitation before entering. When you hear His voice, do not hesitate in
your response. Let all your attempts to find truth be fulfilled by opening your heart to the One
who is Truth. Take heart, friend, for you would not have sought Him had you not already found
He is present, and He is Love. Let the communion begin.
(1) From the first few line of Francis Thomspon's poem, The Hound of Heaven.
(3) An adaptation of St. Augustine's Confessions (Book 1, Chapter 1), "Thou movest us to
delight in praising Thee, for Thou has formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they
find rest in Thee." (Translated by J.G. Pilkington, Basic Writings of Saint Augustine, Grand
Rapids, Michigan, 1980.
(4) Form Pascal's Pensees, #552. The exact quotation is "Console thyself, thou wouldst not seek
Me if thou hadst not found Me." (Translated by W.F. Trotter, New York, 1958.)
Reprinted by permission of The Evangelical Friend, May 1982.