Of the many quotes gleaned from Oscar Wilde’s legacy, this heads the top of my list. Without an honest exchange of truth, relationships fail. There can be no intimacy between two people unless our hearts accessorize our sleeves. Selfish facades that shadow our agenda eventually implode in loneliness and hardened hearts. Pure gold of friendship is separated from the dross of comfortable acquaintance when the charity of truth pierces the dark portion of that friend’s heart. Real friendship demands truth in order to appreciate the freedom and intimate humility of each other’s presence.
So, what is Truth? It shouldn’t then surprise us that the answer comes at the end of a blade – one which we allow entry into the depths of our insecurities. Although life offers many chances to despair, our greatest fear is death. The Truth about death is that it has been conquered and indestructible life through Christ is offered freely to those who allow the blade of God’s conviction to sink deep into the marrow of repentance, extinguishing the poisonous life of selfish pride, and gratefully die to the life in obedient love. Amazingly, the greatest of all disciples, quietly and quickly said “yes” to the steep cost of discipleship. However, when I sit back and wonder why it was a woman, a virgin, where prophetic generations from early church fathers through the likes of Luther and Calvin and beyond that call her blessed – I am less surprised. Today, with 250 births per minute, that are preceded with nine months of anticipation, concern, fear, pain, and the possibility of death – who better would understand and accept the cost of literal impregnation with the burden of discipleship. Soon afterward, in obedience to Judaic practice, Mary and Joseph brought their newborn Jesus to be blessed at the temple. Listen to following conversation found in Luke 2:27-35 and hear the charity of this honest and profoundly concerning dialogue:
27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 “ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
As predicted, the greatest moment in friendship shines on the edge of a sword. Quietly, without hesitation she accepts this moment along with her future in composed obedience. Would I? Would you? If we join her at Calvary could we stand, yes…stand, with her and stare at the real cost of discipleship? Could we endure staring at the innocent victim, who calls us friend, who pleads in broken gasps to His Father to forgive our ignorance? The very cross that plunges into Calvary now pierces the soul of the mother we courageously stand shoulder to shoulder with while our empathy crushes the sorrowful thoughts from our hearts like an olive press.
Jesus asks me to be His friend as He does you. Beyond being a friend and brother, Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is the only face upon which we gaze for our salvation. Dare we accept the blade of obedient love in exchange for Glory? Will we dare abandon ourselves to quickly and quietly say ‘yes’ without regret? Will we let a true friend stab us in the front?
His Truth is a double-edged sword –
A friend that stabs me in the front.
The cost of love is my reward,
A priceless pearl I treasure hunt –
Despite the weather I confront.
Lord grant me the serenity,
In this calling’s endless affront,
To return Your love that set me free,
And make you my identity.
Let my fiat be like Mary’s,
One said quietly and quickly –
To bear God’s fruit I must carry.
O my Jesus, if I must choose,
Then let me die by the sword that you use.
©2011 by Chris Clody 11/4/2011
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