Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and it’s not an accident that this Sunday we’ll finish our series on intimate relationships with “Closer than Close: Intimate Families.” Throughout the series I’ve tried to emphasize that all of our intimate human relationships can be understood in the context of the incarnation. Christianity is unique in that we believe God so loved the world that God became flesh and lived among us in the person of Jesus Christ. Last Sunday I shared a quote with you from James B. Nelson’s book Body Theology that I want to share again here:
Jesus, to the horror of squeamish Christians, was a laughing, crying, sweating, eating, drinking, digesting, urinating, defecating, sexual, sensuous bundle of flesh just as we are. If we cannot believe that, we shall have difficulty believing in the holiness of our own bodies. If we cannot believe that, we shall have difficulty believing that we have met God in one of us—and still meet God in flesh. But there is the good news! God embraces human flesh as the fitting vehicle of divine presence. God’s embodiment continues wherever our love becomes flesh and our flesh becomes love.
Some of you, especially the contemplatives, have intimate love relationships not only with people, but also with God. You have fallen in love with God. Some of you don’t quite understand that feeling—you love God, but you don’t use the language of “falling in love” with God.
For all of you, I want to share a portion of a poem written by Wendell Berry for his wife. Many of you will read this poem and understand it as a celebration of human love, eager love calmed by years and softened by familiarity. It is certainly that. But read it again, and this time let the poem speak to you of your relationship with God.
Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,
suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,
And once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.