Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Jesus of Invitation Hymns

Here is a John Donne sonnet I was introduced my Freshman year in Written Comp II:

Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

I thought of this again after we sang The Savior Is Waiting at church last night:

The Savior is waiting to enter your heart,
Why don’t you let Him come in?
There’s nothing in this world to keep you apart,
What is your answer to Him?

Refrain: Time after time he has waited before,
And now He is waiting again
To see if you’re willing to open the door,
O, how He wants to come in.

If you’ll take one step t’ward the Savior, my friend,
You’ll find His arms open wide;
Receive him, and all of your darkness will end,
Within your heart He’ll abide.

These two things paint two completely different pictures of our Savior. John Donne shows God violently taking us out of our bondage to sin. He uses a couple of strong images: a town that has usurped against the rightful ruler and an unwanted betrothal to the desired man's enemy. Donne desires God to restore the rightful rule to the town and reclaim him from the marriage. The Savior Is Waiting displays Jesus standing outside our hearts hoping that we might open the door. He wants to come in but he is powerless to do anything about it. Time after time, he has waited and so far you have said no, but he is still waiting, hoping fingers crossed that this time you might say yes. That song hurts my heart. On the other hand, Donne's poem causes me to rejoice. How amazing it is that God has rescued us from sin.


Tricia said...

I heart John Donne. I would try to marry him if he were still alive.

Tricia said...


(That's my evil snicker after reading your xanga comment.)