Tuesday, July 29, 2008
You Draw Us After You (My 100th Post!)
My nephew Justin is a book lover and when we get together, our conversations always include what we have been reading. He recommended to me Dave Eggers A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I just recommended to him Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It is delightful to have book friends. Last time we got together, he gave me the book Women, Men and Spiritual Power by John W. Coakley. It is a study of women, most considered saints, from 1100 to 1400 who wrote powerful messages describing and teaching the revelations God had given them. During that time, women were second class and divine insights from their gender proved suspicious. So, the church often assigned men to interpret and sometimes rewrite the essays of the women saints.
This book is filled with the writings of nine of those women and the nine men who were paired with them. I have just started it but can already sense that it will be full of golden nuggets of wisdom for my writing and me.
Gilbert of Gemblox wrote the first quote in the introduction to Hildegard of Bingenin 1175. His words moved me, a twenty-first century woman writer.
“When you come out from the cells of contemplation where the eternal king has so often brought you as his bride, your fruitfulness for us is something better than wine of the fragrance of the finest perfumes. For it is then that, through your writings, you make us partakers of the visions of holy things that you saw with unveiled face when you were in the embrace of your bridegroom. Running along quickly amid the fragrance of your perfumes, you draw us after you.”
I love this. When I read those words, it’s as if the Spirit spoke to my soul in inexpressible groanings (Romans 8:26), challenging me and encouraging me. The fruitfulness, the fragrance of Hildegard’s words were birthed in the cells of contemplation. Because she spent time alone with her groom, the God of all wonder, her words bore His fragrance. And the smell of God and His mercy is one that we all walk toward, whether we admit it or not.
Hildegard drew others after her because of Him.
My heart is filled with the longing to draw others after me to Him. What a joy, a privilege, an honor, and a delight it is to be able to communicate the love of God through words. But first, first I must spend time with Him. I must sit in His lap and feel His arms of unconditional love. First, I must sit at His feet and listen. Listen. Just shut up and listen. First, I must take the time to contemplate, ponder and meditate on His Scriptures.
Then and only then can I walk to my computer as His bride, ready to tell of the Lord’s joy in my life.
A word to my writer friends. Let us take time, each of us, to be with God and fall in love with Him. Let us take more time in listening to His words than coming up with our own. Let us run after Christ and then watch in humility and awe as others follow.