“The Burning Heart” by R.F. Capon

“Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers, why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry, or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half of earth’s gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become. For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself—and it is our glory to see it so and thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetites, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.

That is the unconsolable heartburn, the lifelong disquietude of having been made in the image of God. All man’s love is vast and inconvenient. It is tempting, of course, to blunt its edge by caution. It is so much easier not to get involved—to thirst for nothing and no one, to deny that matter matters and, if you have the stomach for it, to make your bed with meanings which cannot break your heart. But that, it seems to me, is neither human nor Divine. If we are to put up with all other bothers out of love, then no doubt we must put up with the bother of love itself and not just cut and run for cover when it comes.

First of all, such faintness is unworthy of true men. We are the lords, the priests, and the lovers of the world: It is by our hands that its cities will be built if they are built at all. But anything to which we lie so close cannot be a matter of cool detachment and scientific indifference. If I am to lift music, I must lay such hands upon it as not only give me power over it, but also give it power over me. If I am to be the priestly agent by which some girl with high cheekbones enters the exchanges of the city, I must be prepared for the possibility that she may wind my clock beyond all mortal hope of repair. Love is as strong as death. Man was made to lead with his chin; he is worth knowing only with his guard down, his head up and his heart rampant on his sleeve.

But second, last and most important, playing it safe is not Divine. We have come to the end. I tell you simply what I believe. Love is the widest, choicest door into the Passion. God saved the world not by sitting up in heaven and issuing antiseptic directives, but by becoming man, and vulnerable, in Jesus. He died, not because He despised the earth, but because He loved it as a man loves it—out of all proportion and sense. And when He rose again, He stood up like a man indeed: with glorious scars—and with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature.”

— Robert Farrar Capon, “The Burning Heart,” The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection

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About Brian Phillips

Brian lives in Spain with Kassie and their kids.
This entry was posted in Christian Life, Encouragement, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

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