arts, movies, music, pop culture · Church

ten thousand charms

It doesn’t go without significant acknowledgement on my part that I have rested in the embrace of a loving, caring, warm (metaphorically and literally) man every day. I don’t take it lightly. I know what it’s like to be alone. I know what it feels like in the darkest night to cry out in pain because I cannot find rest and I have no where to go.

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
There are ten thousand charms

We can’t discount the profound loss of community we are feeling in our country. I think we are facing epic proportions of loneliness, disconnection, and despair across the spectrum. We are at a loss for common ground and the gap is getting wider and more complicated with every passing day. Blame the media, blame The Other – whatever side it is that qualifies for you – blame it all on the Devil.

It’s not those things. It’s me. It’s you. It’s our hearts and minds. It’s our lack of empathy, even for ourselves. We don’t even understand ourselves, much less those least like us. We can’t even pinpoint how we really are the same all in all.

O Church, rise up.

I recently read a quote that boiled it all down – “Heal. So we don’t have another generation of trauma passing itself off as culture.”

What we’re seeing in our culture now is a generation that doesn’t bury its trauma. It’s all bubbled up to the surface and there’s no denying it. Past generations would bury it or deny it or normalize it. But that day is over. And good riddance.

The problem, though, that arises is how do you heal? Just naming the trauma isn’t enough. Too many people actually, sorta, kinda, really feel like it is. That you just say what happened and that in itself will change everything. Or putting out all the “dirty laundry” – there will be relief, and release of pent up shame, isolation, bitterness, anger – but the laundry will still be dirty and the weight will only be distributed and now more people will have more to heal from. It’s a step in the right direction. But it isn’t the destination we need.

How do you heal?  How do you carry a burden? How do you break free of the bonds of sin and shame? If you tarry, until you figure it out, you will never come at all…

Come to Jesus. O, sweet friend, come to Jesus.

I used to not care for the lyric “ten thousand charms” in the hymn “Come, ye sinners.” It seemed a little goofy and maybe sacrilegious. I’m not the only one and a quick search on Google will show that it’s been debated by better – or at least more interested – minds than mine. (For example: whose post lays it all out historically and theologically, though I am in no way endorsing or opposing his viewpoint about witchcraft. Maybe another blog for another day… )

But in the past, oh, 6 years of marriage, it’s occurred to me that something indeed magical happens between a loving husband and wife that happens nowhere else on the planet. I’m not getting too icky here, but generally speaking, there are exactly zero things like lying down together at the end of a long day and falling into each other’s arms. God clearly pitches himself as a husband in scripture. He clearly does things that are beyond scientific and rational explanation. He is magic. His love is magic. And He gives us real-world, tangible evidence of his magic when my husband and I embrace. It tingles. It makes all my heart’s longings of the day convene together into those moments. And I am at rest.

I am convinced God uses people at the right place at the right time in the right ways to impart His love and grace. There is nothing like an embrace from a dear friend. There is nothing like a kind word. There is nothing like just the right amount of exhortation and discipline in the right way at the right time. And God speaks. His Spirit pours out. And it starts when you and I arise and go to Jesus. We do get up – we must get up. Time and time again, Jesus while on earth gave specific physical commands to people. You could assume it is to prove that we have some part in our own healing, which is its own debate, but I think, more than that, it is because we are so thick-skulled that we may think and even say we’ll do something but never do it. We are quick to say we believe, but when asked to put hands to the mill, we fail. We must arise.

O Church, arise.

I pray for the charms of Jesus. We see lesser charms in the world today. We see other gods worshipped and called on. We see the effects of decades and centuries of dark magic, mysterious and deep. But there is a deeper magic still.

…though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward. And now —

-Aslan, from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe



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