Monday, November 23, 2009

some special grace...

I was deeply struck, this morning, by these words of James Freeman Clarke.  I have always admired his ability to go from the ideal to the practical and nowhere is this quality more needed than in speaking of love; love to Christ or love to our fellow beings.  We are encouraged, by our popular culture to have a Hallmark view of love.  The reality of daily life can never live up and the Hallmark moments are easily forgotten.  I believe deeply that every person does, as Clarke puts it, manifest "some special grace." and when we look to that grace and not to the fault...well, then we all are elevated.  These words from Clarke's sermon "If Any Man Be In Christ, He Is A New Creature"

"To be in Christ, we must love him. But love means much more than blind affectionate instincts, or clinging attachments, or sudden emotions. It is far more noble than that. It is that flame in the soul, caught by the sight of superior beauty and truth and good, which animates and elevates one's whole being, bringing one into harmony with the ideas of those we love. It implies some intelligent sympathy, however small, with their best aims and purposes. Love, true love, attaches itself to that which is better, nobler, higher, than what we have in ourselves. Love looks up to receive a higher influence, to be inspired by a purer life. Love must elevate us, or it is not really love.

If so, you may say, how can there be mutual love ? how can two persons really love each other ? since if neither is better than the other, there can be love on neither side ; and if one is better than the other, then only the lower nature can love the higher. Thus it would seem there can be no such thing as mutual love. The answer is, that each may have some quality higher than the other. God has made us different, to this end, that each may be a revelation of some truth, beauty, good, to another mind. He has made every one of us capable of manifesting some special grace, some peculiar charm of sweetness, or nobleness, or truth. He has made every one of us capable of manifesting something of God's divine beauty to our fellowmen, and when we really love, it is because we see that, and love that. We see and love something of " God manifest in the flesh."

(the painting is "The Jewish Bride" by Rembrandt


Julianne Lepp she/her said...

I like what you say about Hallmark love. I think it is symptomatic of the myths that media has given to relationship and love.

slt said...

Hi Julie,
Its great to hear from you-thank you for your comment. Blessings, BU