I recently read Geoffrey Dennis’ moving essay A Song of Desire (Parabola Fall 2010). Dennis suggests, “Creation is one great ballad of longing and God is the One who sings they lyric in endless variations.” He goes on to point out that His famous question in the garden “Where are you?” is not the rhetorically question of a parent who knows perfectly well what is his wayward children are up too. Rather it is in the second person singular. It is the plaintive plea of a lover who knows that the “one” is avoiding him. Somewhere, someone said that God created the universe in answer to the prayers of the unmanifest. What if Dennis is right? God created us to fill a hole in His heart. Repeatedly the Bible talks of the Almighty’s love for us, His heartbreak and anger when we turn away and His jealousy. Jealousy? Not the sign of paternal love, but rather of a heartbroken lover. And yet time and time again God forgives, God cannot resist forgive us. We are His addiction.
As of late I know this loneliness, this ache, a good friend has turned away from me. I know heartbreak and the desire to forgive. I know the frustration of trying and hoping for friendship. But, I have acquaintances and a family. How much more so must be the anguish of the Almighty who has sacrificed His only Son for our love.
Of course, Dennis references the Song of Solomon; an allegory for God’s love for us.
Let me see your form
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your form is lovely
These words might be mistaken for the words of a loving Father, but surely, the conversation about “twin fawns” would convince anyone the “Groom” is a lover not a father.
And once more the plaintive cry “But my beloved had turned away and had gone!”