Thursday, February 01, 2007

God with us, Immanuel

“On the wings of snow white dove, He sends His pure, sweet love,
A sign from above, on the wings of a dove.”

Tonight we sang that as a joking comment to end a conversation that wasn’t about God at all, but about white things. This old-fashioned gospel song was one that my Mom loved to sing and one that I heard from my brother and his Pentecostal friend as they practiced for the singing service at his friend’s church.

Romanticism is the basis of this song, and I don’t remember the rest of the words. But, my Mom was a romantic. She never loved anyone but my father even though she tested and tried him in ways that would have driven Job crazy. His love was constant throughout the years even though not faithful. She was the only woman he wanted in marriage, and he was the only man who ever held her heart.

Mom was romantic about God, too. She wanted a close-up and personal relationship with God, believing that God was with us every minute in everything we did. So, we sang about God and all the romantic images of the old gospel/church songs. “Let the lower lights be burning”, “Out on the glad hills of God’s glory, moving in rapturous throng, the saints are rehearsing their story, singing a wonderful song” – and you’re gonna like this part – “Peace is the dream, glory’s the theme….” “And he walks with me and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own….”

I grew up believing that, even though bad things were happening to our family, God was still with us, helping us survive and be as good as we could be. The Devil never entered into the equation. I don’t know where Mom thought evil originated, but, for her, evil was already undone in the goodness of being with God. We prayed in song, we prayed in silence, we prayed in short blurbs as things happened, but we KNEW that God was with us. Incarnated, suffering our human problems with us.

Though I ask biting questions, extend this God-thing to fit all kinds of cultures and countries, use satire in talking about some of the stories in the Bible that make little sense in the factual details – though I make fun of religion, I do believe that God is right here with me, laughing, saying, “Ooooh, that was badddd.” Or “Great questions, now find the answers.” I think God is with me everyday, every minute of my life.

Sometimes I forget that I believe this. Sometimes I forget that I believe there is a God or that God cares about me. But most of the time I believe in this God that I question, and most of the time I believe that God loves me and wants a relationship with me. I guess that makes me a romantic, too.


June Butler said...

Share Cropper, your mom had it right. What a lovely atmosphere to grow up in. I love the old country hymns.

You and I, in our best times, remember what your mom knew all the time.

Saint Pat said...

I think your mom was right, too.

Our best times are our best times simply because we fully let God in. That's when the miraculous moments of my life ocurred.

Your post brings back memories. I used to hear that song "On the Wings of a Dove" when I was kid, living in the deep South. We made fun of the nasal singing that came with it, but God only knows what effect such things will have in the long run (grin -- I'm a Christian now).


May Christ be with us.

sharecropper said...

Thanks, friends, for the words of communion.