I had the opportunity to attend a half day retreat led by John Eldredge back in 2000, shortly after reading Sacred Romance. He is a gifted communicator-especially when conveying the passion of our Lord.
I hope it is clear from my writing that I do not consider myself without sin by any stretch of the imagination. I do, unfortunately, all too often fall into the trap of unconsciously ranking sin. Sometimes I even go so far as justifying my judgment about the 'big sinners' as righteous anger.
God has put several passages of Scripture (and great conversations with good friends) in my face this week to remind me that my condition is no different than the alcoholic mother, the adulterer, the homeless drug addict...
When this popped up in my e-mail this morning from Emmy, it was a moving reminder of our upcoming Easter celebration and why it really matters.
Have you ever had to literally turn a lover over to a mortal enemy to allow her to find out for herself what his intentions toward her really were? Have you ever had to lie in bed knowing she was believing his lies and was having sex with him every night? Have you ever sat helplessly by in a parking lot, while your enemy and his friends took turns raping your lover even as you sat nearby, unable to win her heart enough so she would trust you to rescue her? Have you ever called this one you had loved for so long, even the day after her rape, and asked her if she was ready to come back to you only to have her say her heart was still captured by your enemy? Have you ever watched your lover’s beauty slowly diminish and fade in a haze of alcohol, drugs, occult practices, and infant sacrifice until she is no longer recognizable in body or soul? Have you ever loved one so much that you even send your only son to talk with her about your love for her, knowing that he will be killed by her? (And in spite of knowing all of this, he was willing to do it because he loved her, too, and believed you were meant for each other.)
All this and more God has endured because of his refusal to stop loving us. Indeed, the very depth and faithfulness of his love for us, along with his desire for our freely given love in return, are what give Satan the ammunition to wound God so deeply as he carries out his unceasing campaign to make us into God’s enemy.
(John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance , 106)