Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Face of Love







I started my week with a Devotional and this Quiet Scripture reading, little guessing how similar these words would echo the final chapters for our study at Michele Morin's site:

Living Our Days

for C.S. Lewis' myth retold, Till We Have Faces. 





"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV




We have come to the final two chapters of the book, and I find myself overwhelmed with so many thoughts from these words penned by a supreme wordsmith.  But C.S. Lewis was not using his words only for the sake of beautiful and cunning language. No, he addresses that thought, the ultimate inadequacies of our language, as he alludes to the meaning of this book's title:

"When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about joy of words. . . Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they (the gods) hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?"

In the last days of her life, Orual was given vision after vision, taking her closer to the depths of her own heart. In one final vision, Orual brought her (mostly) finished story and her complaint against the gods.  As she stood reading her complaint, she suddenly realized that she had been reading the same words over and over again, and the gods themselves had been silent.  

There in the silence she understood that the very complaint she had brought before them, thinking she was judging them, was in fact, the judgement of her own ways. She was the one who had treated LOVE unfairly. She was the one who had abused the heart of her Dear Psyche, and the one who had sent her away.

In the moments before Orual faced her trial before the Supreme Lord, she was shown glimpses of her life, and of Psyche's life. As she watched their parallel paths, she saw the heart difference displayed in Psyche. While Psyche still carried joy through her wanderings, Orual had only carried sorrow and bitterness in the deep caverns of her soul.  A clarity began to form in Orual's heart.



Haven't I faced that moment of clarity  when the True God placed before me the decision to choose HIS Life,
to be offered a full repentance?



Psyche offered to Orual, a love that was without restraint. A love that Orual had never been able to attain:

"Did I not tell you, Maia (Psyche's name for Orual,) that a day was coming when you and I would meet in my house and no cloud between us?"

Psyche brought Orual to the edge of a pool, and the joy and the love that Orual had never understood before, was offered to her through Psyche's gift. Even as the Supreme One approached them, and Orual felt herself "pierced through and through with the arrows of it. I was being unmade," she knew why all of it mattered:

"The earth and stars and sun, all that was or will be, existed for His sake. And He was coming. The most beautiful, the only dread and beauty there is, was coming."


And in that moment, the unmaking of Orual was the birthing of something more beautiful than she could ever have thought. In the reflected vision at the pool, Psyche's love and Psyche's beauty became her own. Same but not the same. Mercy had won over judgement. Only Love remained. 

Her book demanded a different ending:

"I ended my first book with the words 'no answer.' I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?"


And my own heart wept as another glimpse into the mercy of my God filled my soul. All of my own striving to love, all of my own searching for beauty only leads me to a deeper shame, and a deeper knowing that I cannot attain to what is required. He, the ONE who is everything, is not within my reach.

But His Mercy made a way
His Mercy sent Jesus
His Son
To show me what 
only He could bring:

The True Love
that paid the price
for the complaint
brought against me,
and you.


In His Face 
we find our own faces
when we choose His Life
His Love


The God who spoke light into existence, saying, “Let light shine from the darkness,” is the very One who sets our hearts ablaze to shed light on the knowledge of God’s glory revealed in the face of Jesus, the Anointed One.







He takes the same Love that's inside of His Heart
And He puts the same love deep inside of me.



To find an index for all of the posts in this series on the study of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces,
click here




20 comments:

  1. I had not read that story by CS Lewis but I am definitely intrigued after reading your take on it. The one thing that stood out to me was that the Lord Himself is the answer. He is the answer to everything we struggle with. I love that thought! Thanks for sharing. Your neighbor at #livefreethursdays

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    1. Yes, isn't He so good to bring us to Himself? The answer to everything we struggle with. What a gift to bring the deepest Thankfulness to our hearts! Thanks for visiting today, and I hope you will get a chance to read this great book by C.S. Lewis someday. It definitely was a life-changer for me! --Blessings to you!

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  2. Bettie, that Scripture about choosing life gives such clarity to Orual's ultimate decision, for in "dying before she died" she was, ultimately choosing (FINALLY) to live. There are so many parallels in these final chapters to our own end and the face to face experience that we will one day have with our Lord. I see it in the Chronicles of Narnia too: Lewis had an amazing way of putting the mercy and grace of God on display in a way that makes me want to be a better follower.
    Thanks, Bettie, for the huge role you have played in this discussion.

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    1. Dear Michele,
      Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for letting me "tag along" through your generous invitation to participate! And, yes, I agree with you that C.S.Lewis certainly opened new windows of looking at the mercy and grace of God. So often reading this book I've been reminded of those beautiful pictures in Narnia! May the Lord bring Blessing and Mercy and Grace to you now too.

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  3. Thanks Bettie for sharing Deut.30:19-20 here today. I have enjoyed following your thoughts on TWHF and life. This is such a fitting summary: Love your God. Listen to His Voice. Hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life. Beautiful. thanks!

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging words Linda! I have enjoyed the study of TWHF so much. Even though I expected that the book would be wonderful, because it is by C.S. Lewis, after all, I was still overwhelmed by the convictions and the Grace of God that I encountered during the reading. I'm glad we've been neighbors through the process! --Blessings to you!

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  4. Bettie - I have not read this book, but after reading both your and Michele's thoughts on it, it is very intriguing, especially with your summary-- Love God - listen to His voice ( a passion of mine) and hold fast.... Thank you for linking up with #TuneInThursday today!

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    1. Dear Debbie, Yes, this work by C.S. Lewis has certainly touched some deep convictions in my heart. I am so thankful that He gives us HIS love and HIS voice. Thank you for offering the invitation to join your link-up! Blessings to you!

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  5. This is so inspiring, Bettie. It really touched me how "the unmaking of Orual was the birthing of something more beautiful than she could ever have thought." How she learned the Lord Himself is the answer. Also your thoughts about how our own striving to love only leads us to a deeper shame. But Mercy made a way! Thank you for these encouraging thoughts! Have a blessed, restful weekend! Hugs!

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    1. Dear Trudy, I was so touched also at Orual's remaking by the Lord. Sometimes I wonder why it takes me so long to let go of my own striving, and then His Mercy does make that way, like you said! How great is our God to step in just when we need Him to! Thank you for your encouraging thoughts also! Be Blessed this weekend too, my friend! Hugs!

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  6. Bettie, I have really enjoyed your posts on this book study. I thought I had that book but couldn't find it, so now I really want to get it and read it. Thanks for sharing your heart through these posts. Now I understand what is meant by the title "Till We Have Faces." Blessings to you dear friend/poet/sister. Hugs! xoxo

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    1. Dear Gayl,
      Oh I hope that you are able to read this book someday. C.S.Lewis has such a poetic way of writing that goes straight to the heart. I was glad that we read the book in shorter segments, because I often had to stop reading, and ponder, because my heart was overwhelmed! I am so grateful for the Love of God that shines in the face of our Lord Jesus! Blessings to you Dear Friend! xoxo

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  7. This is beautiful Bettie! I have not read the C.S. Lewis book but after reading our words and following along with Michele I am intrigued enough to put it on my reading list for the future. It sounds like you were blessed by the book.

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    1. Thank you, Mary, for your kind words! Yes I was very blessed and touched by God throughout the study of this book. I hope you are able to read it someday. I had borrowed the book from a friend several years ago, but this was the right time for me. Blessings to you this new week!

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  8. Wow! This is SO deep and edifying to me right now. I hope to read this book one day when I really have time to delve into it and understand it. It doesn't sound like a quick, skimming read, but a book that requires concentration and study to really glean the good from it. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend. You are such a dear blessing to me...both here and through your precious comments on my blog. Sending you love and hugs!

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    1. Dear Cheryl, I appreciate your encouraging comments so much also! And I hope that you can read this book someday. It is packed with so many beautiful pictures of what love really looks like. But you are right, it asks for a slow and pondering way of reading, letting the heart catch up with the head! :-) Sending Love and Hugs to you also, friend!

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  9. Thank you Bettie for joining in on the live session on GMG.
    You and Michele seem to have had lots of fun reading through the C.S Lewis classic 😄
    I appreciate all your encouragement on the blog too. You followed all the Bible Study last month. I am thinking of what to give you for a gift😊.
    Regards to your hubby

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    1. Dear Ifeoma,
      Oh, I have had such joy following your Bible Studies! :) I do hope that someday you will be able to read this C.S.Lewis book also. It definitely caused me to look more deeply at my relationship with Jesus. Blessings to you also!

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  10. Bettie, while it is evident you have gleaned a tremendous amount from your close study of this book, you have also informed, inspired and initiated some deep work in your readers through your insightful, prayerful comments.
    It's been a joy to follow along and see where Orual and Psyche's journey took them, and ponder just where we are positioned in our own relationship with God. These poetic words speak deeply to me today:

    "In His Face
    we find our own faces
    when we choose His Life
    His Love"

    So true, my friend! Our real identity only begins to become apparent in relationship with Jesus. It's a spiritual awakening of being reborn as God's beloved ones, leading to a faith filled knowing that we somehow have fullness of life in the midst of our struggles and pain. Thank you for all you share from your sweet, God-centred heart! Love and hugs. xoxo

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    1. Dear Joy,
      Oh how I pray that these small words have indeed touched the heart of even just one to be inspired in their relationship with the Lord. And, I am so thankful that you were touched here today also, my friend! You have stirred me with this thought that, "we somehow have fullness of life in the midst of our struggles and pain." Only our Lord can reveal that to us, and isn't it wonderful when He does? You are such an encouragement to me, Dear Friend! Love and Hugs to you also! xoxo

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