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A Willing Captive

I have been thinking about my friend Dave's objection to the "slave" metaphor for our relationship with God, over the past couple of weeks. Oh my goodness, his comment provoked much reflection!

Even though I wrote a post (Passion and Truth) about not clinging to language or things that are cultural roadblocks on a person's faith journey, in my heart I felt a nudging not to discard something so significant.

And so it came to be, after the rest of our cell group friends had left for home last night, that Susan and I had one last de-caff coffee together in the quiet of the now empty, big back room. We sat side by side in the lamplight and in comfortable wing back chairs, and talked about it, and she said, "But we don't have to stay. We could leave."

And I said, "Yes."

In a sense we found common ground with Dave, who said, "I give God my praise (and love) as a free man," and I agree that we are not "en" slaved. The point is that it isn't about being shackled as a slave, but more accurately about being freed. It's about being free to leave, but out of love, choosing to stay, and in that staying, choosing to yield our lives, all that we are, to the one who gave everything for us.

The first verse of a poem written by Paul's father, the late Rev. Ronald F.T.Burston, has been on my heart. It's called, appropriately, A Willing Captive.

Make me a willing captive,
Lord of Thee,
Come inhabit my entire being,
Write loyal lines of love upon my heart,
And help me sing them in the dead of night,
To make the hills reverberate with
Heavenly joy,
And cause the music of the whispering
breeze to call out--JESUS!


You see, I just love the idea of a 'willing captive' ... it makes so much sense to me. It can refer to our relationship to God, our relationship to a spouse, our relationship to a cause. I am a 'willing captive' of my faith. Susan was right, I can leave, but I don't. I have doubts, I have fits of anger, I even admit to times of jealousy (why does God listen to their prayers and not mine?)but I don't leave. I can, but I don't. Not because of my love for Him but because I am unwilling to walk away from His love of me.
Belinda said…
Hooray! We are agreed then. Praise God. All is well. We don't have to agree on everything, but talking through to understanding on this feels very, very, good.
Susan said…
That's right. Our chains are gone, we've been set free...

Jesus is Lord, but he doesn't lord it over me. It's completely and utterly my choice to stay. No whips, no chains, no locks, no bars.

I loved this whole discussion thread - how it was okay to disagree and tease apart an issue, grapple with ideas that didn't necessarily converge - and all come out friends on the other end. I loved it!
I agree all ... but I'm guessing that if you are truly friends going in ... you'll be friends coming out. I actually like the process of disagreement and discussion - if everyone listens, respectfully - then growth happens. Even though I was the 'disagreer' here, I found that I really learned from reading the comments. This is why ... no matter what the votes said ... this is my number one Canadian faith blog!!
Joyful Fox said…

I also like a "willing captive", God will take no less.

Our faith, our trust, our devotion is ours to give and "give" we must, to receive the abundant life that He offers.

We shall know the "truth" and the truth will set us free, it may make us miserable first - as we wrestle, deny, mutter, and grumble and face (usually the ugliness of our own flesh and humanity), but even freedom, has a cost.

I am glad to see this blog and the comments, too. After last one, I was a little unsettled - not knowing all persons, and not wanting to offend. I'm glad so many are o.k. with a difference of opinion or sharing contradictions in understanding. Sometimes, it's harder to know if someone is hurt or if you've communicated clearly in written form. However on the flip side, it provides a forum to think and anonymously react before you try to write with clarity. Writing often gives understanding to the one whose writing. For me, I realize my own truth sometimes when I express what it is I think or feel - I have on occasion been shocked.

Anyways glad we have a respect and this is a place where we can be honest and sort things out.

Thanks, I feel so privileged to be on this journey with each and every one of you, some I don't even know by name "Night Owl" and some who I know of but have never called friend, Dave, and yet in my heart, I view you as sisters and brothers of God's precious family.

So thanks to God for each of you!
Anonymous said…
"Let Your goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee"
Belinda said…
"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." One of my favourite hymns!
Susan said…
That IS my favourite hymn.. :o)

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