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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Monday, June 1, 2015

first love

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
     These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.  I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 
     Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.  Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." (Revelation 2:1-5)

It is amazing how easily love can turn into duty if we are not careful to keep the fires of romance alive deep in our hearts.  Not that duty is a bad thing mind you, but if that’s all we’ve got, it is far from the passionate love that is what our hearts most deeply long for in relationship, particularly in our relationship with God.

I wonder if that’s what happened to the church at Ephesus?  I wonder if over time their relationship with God had turned from loving romance to routine duty.  I wonder where, when, and why they just started going through the motions rather than allowing themselves to be seized by the power of the Great Affection.  Don’t get me wrong, duty is very definitely a significant part of the commitment of love, but if our affections are not engaged as well, it will quickly digress into something not resembling love at all.

It seems like that’s what God was asking of the church at Ephesus.  He wanted not only their actions, but their affections.  He wanted their hearts, not just their behavior.  For he knew if he had their hearts, their behavior would follow.  He wanted the attention and affection and passion and intensity with them that he’d had “at first.”  He wanted them to return to the days when all they could do was think about him and long for him and yearn to be with him in an intimate embrace.  So he called upon them to repent—which does not seem like a particularly romantic word, but is—and return to their Lover of their souls, who continually longs for intimate union with his creation.
O Lord, our God, forgive us when we run off and chase lovers other than you.  Forgive us when we have left you, or first and truest love.  Help us to repent and to return to the only true Lover of our souls.  Amen.


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