There are two verses in Isaiah that strike me as descriptive of the extravagance of God’s compassion. In the version I read most mornings, Isaiah 5:7-8 speaks of God’s great compassion and then follows it by saying,
with everlasting love I will have compassion on you.
In the Message it says,
with lasting love I will tenderly care for you.
It sounds almost like a tautology to me, a ‘needless repetition’ of terms, to conflate in one breath God’s everlasting love and God’s compassion or tender care. Yet there it is.
So I have tried to sit with a sense of that luxurious extravagance of God’s deep, loving compassion. To personalize it, to bath in it and to pray for it for those whom I know are in great need, that they will know that God, with deep love, tenderly cares for them. May you, too, have pause this week to bath in the luxurious extravagance that God, with everlasting love, tenderly cares for you.
Last week we had the first Dayspring Community Quiet Day for 2021, and, as I was pondering the lectionary readings for this coming Sunday, the Latin term carpe diem came to mind.
Carpe diem became a familiar term after the 1989 movie, Dead Poets Society. In the movie an unorthodox English teacher, played by Robin Williams, urges his class of boys to ‘live extraordinary lives’. He whispered to them to carpe diem, which, in the movie, is translated as ‘seize the day’. Since the captivating performance of Williams, the expression has become a common motto, even appearing on bumper stickers. It has inspired people to take a hold of the opportunities that come their way, to get up and grab hold of their life, to make it full and successful.
But, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, a better translation of carpe diem is ‘pluck the day’ or enjoy life while you can. Go out and pick the flowers, smell the roses, and enjoy the moment. To me, this slightly different translation has a sense of being fully in the present moment, and savouring it for all it is worth. This is captured well in Gregory Orr’s poem from his book, How Beautiful the Beloved:
Ask the tree or the house;
Ask the rose or the fire
Hydrant – everything’s
Waiting for you to notice.
Everything’s waiting for you
To wrap your heart around it.
That music has been playing
Since you were born.
You must be mad to resist it.
Always the beloved
Eager to dance.
All we have to do is ask.
This week, may we be aware that the beloved surrounds us, and may we wrap our heart each day and savour it to the full.
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