Saturday, December 23, 2006

What Love Looks Like

Somewhere southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah --

In preparing to celebrate the Incarnation, I thought it appropriate to share these words, which were perfectly put to music by the incomparable Phil Keaggy (arguably the finest living guitarist, incontestably the finest living fingerstylist):

The Maker of the universe,
As Man, for man was made a curse.

The claims of Law which He had made,
Unto the uttermost He paid.

His holy fingers made the bough,
Which grew the thorns that crowned His brow;

The nails that pierced His hand were mined,
In secret places He designed.

He made the forest from whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung;

He died upon a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood.

The sky that darkened o'er His head,
By Him above the earth was spread.

The sun that hid from Him its face,
By His decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled His precious blood
Was tempered in the fires of God.

The grave in which His form was laid
Was hewn in rocks His hands had made.

The throne on which He now appears
Was His from everlasting years;

But a new glory crowns His brow,
And every knee to Him shall bow....

Minds immeasurably broader, subtler, and better stocked than mine have blunted themselves against the mystery of the Incarnation, and vastly deeper souls than mine have found themselves badly overmatched when contemplating the most sobering question of our existence: Why was it necessary for the Creator to take on the form of His creation, and suffer the penalty for our sins?

In His sacrifice we find salvation; in His teachings we find the only true freedom worth pursuing.

But was it necessary for Him to suffer as He did?

Apparently so.

My only contribution to much worthier efforts to limn the imponderable depths of this question is this:

God made Himself flesh in the person of Jesus so that mankind would know what love looks like.


DRS said...

Yes Will, anyone who gives much thought at all to the Incarnation of Christ has got to wonder: Why didn't God just kill the devil? Won't that have been a lot easier?

But instead, the Creator takes on the form of the created and allows himself to be killed by them. But most significant, during this definitive act of human injustice, he suffers something far worse than a Roman spike or scourge: He bears the wrath of a holy God for OUR sin. And somehow, this satisifies the infinite justice of a holy God (Isaiah 53).

I don't completely understand it, but I'm thankful for it! "[G]reat is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." (I Tim 3:16 KJV)

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

rick said...


not to nitpick you. i'd like to see the devil done away with as well, but o off him would still leave us with our sin...and this awful income tax.

merry christmas to y'all 2!

A Radical Whig in Chattanooga said...

I wish you all a Merry Christmas! May God Bless you richly this coming year.

Anonymous said...

Hey Will! Didn't that Jesus picture run on the cover of ENSIGN magazine a few years ago?!

William N. Grigg said...

Charles -- Since I haven't received The Ensign for ... well, ever, I can't answer your question.

Well, I like that rendition anyway! ;-)

God bless!

DRS said...


Point well taken. As for the income tax, I can't quote chapter and verse, but it seems like it must somehow be the result of the curse of sin!