Your Blog Steward

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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Drink to me only with thine eyes

It's possible, if you have a real good memory (or are addicted to trivia) that you have heard the title of this blog post before. It is a line from a poem by Ben Jonson, and I missed it at a trivia game the other night. (I guessed John Donne.) Check out a reading here.

I haven't heard that line for 30 years. I read a lot of Jonson--he was a playwright who had some really funny stuff, and I could often while away an hour or so reading him. (Remember: this was before cable and Netflix.) In fact, I have a memory with this exact poem. It's actually a song, and there's a tune to it as well. Here is the version I imagine Ben Jonson himself would have approved of



Back in the day, without Ipods and the first Walkmans, I found an old cassette of this song in our college's music library. I went into one of the "listening rooms" and played this song as I wrote a paper on Mr, Jonson. I just kept replaying it. About 45 minutes later there is a knock on the door. It's a young woman who wants to know what this song is? How did you hear it, I asked? She pulled the cords from my headphones and said, "You forgot to plug them in. I've been listening to it for a half-hour."

As I was apologizing for being rude, she said, it was OK because you don't hear that kind of music much. (It was 1983.) I gave her the tape. She has since gone on to a singing career in opera, and I hope she still hums that tune every now and then.

This song gets at the heart of how God works in the world. It's all about relationships (even sexual ones), and relationships are how we discover our humanity, and in that our divinity. What God has done for us in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is entwined us in way that if we could only drink with the eyes of a lover it would be enough. Our humanity rests on our living together as only those loved by the divine truly drink of. We drink not to dominate, abuse, or destroy, we drink to love.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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