Saturday, 28 August 2010

Late have I loved you, you were within me, but I was outside....

I am often surprised to find (although I don't know why I should be) that many of todays great worhip leaders reflect a deep knowledge of earlier Christian hymns, hymn writers and teachers. The relevance and impact of these hymns and teachings can be so powerfully demonstrated as the ancient truths are communicated in ways relevant to our culture. However, it is sad how many 'modern Christians' I meet who gain vicarious benefit from these ancient truths via modern songs but have no idea of their roots with some even decrying anything old simply because it's old! When a culture, movement or organisation belittles or ignores its history or fails to appreciate and understand its significance it is probably heading into some sort of self satisfied cultural culdesac. I was reminded of this powerfully and by way of a blessing this week as I got into my newly discovered group 'Gungor' and read some of St. Augustine's confessions (I know, it's not everyday etc etc)....

From St. Augustine:
Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because this very light made me, and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who knows truth knows this light.

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.
 
Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.


Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.
.......and then as I was listening to Gungor I came across their track 'Late have I loved you'.....



Late have I loved You
Beauty so ancient, so new
Late have I loved You
You were within me
But I was outside You
It was there that I searched for You

Late have I loved You
Beauty so ancient, so new
Late have I loved You

You were here with me
But I was not with You
And it was there that You found me
It was there that You found me

You called and You shouted
And You broke through my deafness
You flashed and You shone
Dispelled all my blindness

You breathed Your fragrance on me
You breathed Your fragrance on me
Late have I loved You
Late have I loved You

You called and You shouted
You broke through my deafness
You flashed and You shone
Dispelled all my blindness
You breathed Your fragrance on me
You breathed Your fragrance on me

I drew in Your breath
And I keep on breathing
I've tasted I've seen
And now I want more

'Cause You breathed Your fragrance on me
You breathed Your fragrance on me
Late have I loved You
Late have I loved You

Credits :
songwriters: michael gungor,


As devotional words these have great power - from us being outside of Him to us being the fragrance of Him - this is our journey. The reading of the words from St Augustine and the listening to them from Gungor lead me to Romans 2 and that great reminder that it is the kindness of God that leads us to that place of repentence -  the atmosphere within which our journey makes most headway........