Friday, December 29, 2017

Quempas echo

Christmas eve, and the lights in church are low. The saints hold candles and sing of Jesus, they circle the church, singing from all corners, echoing praise back and forth as if from every corner of the world.

I snuggle a sleepy little saint while they walk by with the candles and their Quempas Carol.

The song itself is light in our darkness, but it’s not so bright that it wakes the sleeper. Not yet.
God’s own Son is born a child, is born a child;
God the Father is reconciled, is reconciled.

Each saint who goes by, each familiar face made even more lovely by soft candlelight, inspires affection, gratitude, prayer in me. I join their song, grateful that the average pew sitter is invited in as part of the echo. I envisage God’s great gathering of us all; how our lights will shine then; how my own voice will be more lovely, more confident.

But when he walks by there is more affection, more hope, more aching prayer.
For he’s mine, my husband, him whom I have loved in this life.  
It is with a mix of deep affection and selfish possessiveness that I use the word “mine:” God isn’t finished with me yet.  He is pastor, he is daddy, he is many things to many people, but at the end of this day, he is mine.

He walks by in his robe with the candle, singing with the saints as we are all  being gathered
The sheep are safe, He will indeed take care of them.

Safe. The sheep are safe. How his shepherd heart must ache for that day when all God’s sheep are finally safe and gathered in. I ache for it with him.

I try to imagine it:
He’s part of the heavenly choir, and I see him walk by singing sanctified praise, but with the voice I know, the smile that I have loved. There is more joy in his smile.
He will not be mine, then, not exclusively to possess as husband.
With others I will love him, see him, and rejoice in what God has done.

Will I still be allowed to speak of him with the “mine” of affection?
Will there be an amused “I told you so” in his glance, or in mine?
Will there be a silent mutual apology for not loving better? If there is, surely there will be mutual grace to consume all regret or pain, to swallow it all up in forgiveness.
Will we share a glance that nobody else could possibly understand, rich with memories and tearful nights and joys and fears we shared in this life, amazed to see how God has redeemed every bit of it all?

“Confirm for us the work of our hands:” we have prayed  this many times.  Will we someday see God’s answer?  It will all be done by His hand, we will see clearly then.
And yet He has used our hands to “help,”
Used pastor’s words to convict, comfort, heal, uphold
And mine too, in my own way, though all of the grace and the beauty were borrowed.
Will we get to trace the paths of His Words on our lips, see how God took our imperfect efforts and (miraculously!) watered and grew and reaped a rich harvest?

I have shared his burdens in this life; will I get to be with him to see those burdens made beautiful?
These saints we walk with and their griefs, will we see the finished artwork when they are finally healed?

We cannot picture, cannot fathom what is to come. So for now, light candles together, we join in song, and we receive glimpses of hope from our God. And we wait until the new day dawns.

Image may contain: 1 person, sleeping, sitting, baby and indoorThe sleeping saint in the pew stirs under his coat-blanket.  I try to coax him into holding a candle and joining the song but he is too weary. It’s ok, son, we will sing for you, for now.

Rejoice in his goodwill; The Savior came in meekness
For you, for you, to bear your flesh in weakness.
God’s own Son is born a child, is born a child;
God the Father is reconciled, is reconciled.

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