Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Lenten Reading: Pondering St. Augustine

For part of my Lenten reading this year, I've been working my way through the devotional readings in Bread and Wine, published by Orbis Books. This is a richly diverse collection of readings from Christians of various traditions and across a number of years. It has a lot of my favorite writers in it (one of the reasons it caught my eye) but has also been introducing me to some writers I didn't know as well. It's also giving me lots of food for heart and mind from some of the classic writers of Christian devotion.

This was part of this morning's reading, from St. Augustine's Confessions:

"The Maker of man was made man, that the Ruler of the stars might suck at the breast; that the Bread might be hungered; the Fountain, thirst; the Light, sleep; the Way, be wearied by the journey; the Truth, be accused by false witnesses; the Judge of the living and dead, be judged by a mortal judge; the Chastener, be chastised with whips; the Vine, be crowned with thorns; the Foundation, be hung upon the tree; Strength, be made weak; Health, be wounded; life, die. To suffer these and suchlike things, undeserved things, that He might free the undeserving, for neither did He deserve any evil, who for our sakes endured so many evils, nor were we deserving of anything good, we who through Him received such good."

Amen and amen. I'm reminded afresh of how important the whole of Jesus' life is for us -- the incarnation, his earthly life, his passion, death and resurrection -- how the whole of that life catches us up and brings us into the eternal life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It also reminds me of another meditation by a much more recent Christian poet and ponderer, Michael Card. From his song "The Cross of Glory":

From the pages of the prophets
He stepped out into the world
And walked the earth in lowly majesty
For He had been creator
A creature now was He
Come to bear love's sacred mystery
He the Truth was called a liar
The only lover hated so
He was many times a martyr before He died
Forsaken by the Father
Despised by all the world
He alone was born to be the crucified
Upon the cross of Glory
His death was life to me
A sacrifice of love's most sacred mystery
And death rejoiced to hold Him
But soon He would be free
For love must always have the victory
Though no rhyme could ever tell it
And no words could ever say
And no chord is foul enough to sing the pain
Still we feel the burden
And suffer with your song
You love us so and yet you bid us sing

For love must always have the victory

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