Being’s Source ‘Begins to Be’

A short reflection during Advent.

Emptied of his majesty,
Of his dazzling glories shorn,
Being’s source begins to be,
And God himself is born!

– Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, Hymn IV

This phrase floored me this morning.  Thank God for poetry and hymns and the foolishness of poets and hymn writers (and theologians and preachers, too).

How can the source of being begin to be?  Aristotle argued the beginning of all things to have an ‘unmoved mover,’ a source who was not acted upon, someone who was “the alpha…the beginning.”  Maybe this someone could or couldn’t be known, according to Aristotle.

Charles Wesley – and the whole orthodoxy of Christian faith – would beg to differ on the knowing part.

How can the source of being begin to be?  Beats me.  The Incarnation is a beautiful mystery.  Embracing it seems to be the only option for a person of true faith.  Mary Syzbist puts it this way in one poem for her collection Incarnadine:

But you can’t have two worlds in your hands and choose emptiness.

It’s times like these where I feel like it’s easier to relate to Mary, who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  I don’t think she could explain them either.  But she held two worlds in her hands.  She stared them both down and picked faith.  Picked truth.  Picked love.

She picked the source of being.  God, grant me the faith to do the same, every single day.

Hell – A Poem

HAPPY Magdelene, to whom

Christ the Lord vouchsaf’d t’appear!

Newly risen from the Tomb,

Would He first be seen by Her?

Her by seven Devils possest,

Till his Word the fiends expell’d;

Quench’d the Hell within her Breast,

All her Sins and Sickness heal’d.

– Charles Wesley, Hymn III, Hymns for our Lord’s Resurrection

 

In a time of solitude last week, I reflected on this stanza from Charles Wesley and wrote the following poem.  This is a reflection on what it feels like on my worst days when the “Hell within [my] Breast” gets the louder word.  There is hope buried in the poem, though.  Here it goes:

 

Hell is not a place

but a face.

Hell is not a he or she

hell is me.

Hell is in me.

 

Hell is the place my sick heart tabernacles

unaware of fiendish shackles

not self-imposed

but self-inflicted;

until evicted

by the One who fixed it.

 

Hell is the sick heart – at the start –

which fell apart

like fragile art

placed neatly into childish hands

who could not know the Artist’s plans

for, lack of listening to instruction

historically leads to mass destruction.

 

Hell is each thought, each word, each deed

which is performed out of the need, to

win and take and force my druthers

that always ends up costing others

and satisfies a deeper lust

to just…

become the God I must

have been made to be.

So –

worship me.