Philip Wilson Steer – Walberswick, a beach on the Suffolk Coast
I’ve just finished writing a series of meditations drawing on C S Lewis’ short book, The Four Loves. It’s for a BRF publication, Quiet Spaces , a series I love to read, and to write for. I always feel I go deeper as I try out my ideas for meditations and exercises, and as I work on them with Sally Smith, the editor.
The publication isn’t coming out till next summer, but I thought I might just share a few snippets with you, especially in the light of Harry and Meghan’s wedding on Saturday, and the joy of love, and the sometimes pain of love, that occasion embodied. The palpable absence of the groom’s mother, the solitary presence of the bride’s mother, remind us that nothing is unmixed, that sorrow and difficulty are found in every place, in every heart.
Bishop Curry’s moving and powerful sermon captivated so many of us watching. I will listen to it again and again. I hope I can take it to heart, to seek to live more in the light of its truth. The power of love to transform, the way of love shown us by Jesus, were shown us in the words, and heart behind the words, that flowed out to those present, and to those far away. It was deep and authentic.
He was drawing on the Song of Solomon, one of the readings I had chosen to dwell on for this work. The reading at the wedding was from chapter 2 and also chapter 8, and can be found here.
You might like to use this combined passage for the exercise below.
Philip Wilson Steer
So, here are some snippets from the meditations. I hope they enrich your day.
From my introduction:
“”God is love,” says St John” – this is Lewis’s opening sentence. It is the spring from which all the rest flows. The essence of Jesus’ teaching is that we love – love God, our neighbours, even our enemies.
Love like this is received as a gift, but also needs to be learned, to be worked out. The way of the Cross shows us a love which is far from easy. The natural loves can help us take steps, to steady our walk, as we seek to follow the path of Jesus, who loved us, and gave himself for us…
Meditation with drawing
“And we were put on Earth a little space,
That we might learn to bear the beams of love.”
Wm Blake (Songs of Innocence and Experience)
Find a quiet space
Rest in the knowledge that God loves you, and delights in you.
Breathe in and out slowly
Know God is with you, looking at you tenderly and compassionately. You can imagine God enfolding you if you prefer.
You are God’s beloved child.
Breathe in love. Breathe out love.
If you can, call to mind some action or thought of yours which is good, and loving.
Thank God for the love that flows through you.
Breathe in love. Breathe out love.
Take some pencils or other art equipment. Draw and write the words of Blake above, or a Bible verse about God’s love. Return your attention to God’s love for you again and again.
And, in honour of the royal wedding, and all who are committing their lives to loving each other this summer, from the sections on Eros ….
Romantic love – Eros
Lewis describes Eros as “the kind of love which lovers are in”.
Eros transforms a ‘need pleasure’ into an ‘appreciate pleasure’. We see the miracle of the beloved – they are wondrous. We see in them something of the “imago dei”, the image of God. This love can wipe out the distinction between giving and receiving. It can take us to a point beyond ourselves: “love you, I am you!” (89).
This kind of love… is close to the kind of love God has for us. The total commitment, the adoration and sacrifice of God’s love for us has its echo here.
Read a passage from the Song of Solomon, suggest Ch 2.
Reread it slowly, and draw or paint a response, freely and spontaneously. Doodle if that suits you. Feel the abundant life and energy of the passage.
Dwell with the love of the couple.
Then, when you are ready, turn your mind to considering how God delights in you, and celebrates you in love and song. Can you receive that?
How might it change your relationships to be so “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph 3:17-19)?
BRF are publishing my book, Jesus said “I am” in October this year. It started life as a similar series of meditations, but it was wonderful to have more space to explore and develop ideas, and to include a wide range of possible responses to take into our everyday lives. Soon, I’ll have the text to go through one last time……..