Live and Love With Urgency, Not With Haste

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January 16, 2013 by Pastor Ben McIntire

Merida from Disney's Brave

Merida from Disney’s Brave

Last week my family and I got to spend a winter vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth—yes that’s right, Disneyland. It was good timing for us because my daughter, Phoebe, is two and really getting into the whole Disney Princess thing. In fact, for Christmas she got a Cinderella play dress, some princess shoes, a crown, a little castle full of princesses, and some Disney movies; not to mention a trip to Disneyland to actually meet said Princesses. My wife, Monica, also got the lastest Disney Princess movie, BRAVE, about a young Scottish princess who refuses to marry without love. It just so happens that Phoebe and I got to meet the star of BRAVE, Merida, in the photo above.
Brave
After watching the new BRAVE blu-ray I was amazed to learn that one of my new favorite bands, Mumford & Sons, plays the song for the end credits called “Learn Me Right” featuring the vocal talent of Birdy. You can listen to the song on YouTube along with the lyrics here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NDRgOFGLH0
It’s a beautiful song about learning to live together, whether it be with family (as in the movie, focused on the mother-daughter relationship), spouse, or community and what it takes to forgive, heal, and experience the joy of human relationships. But what I like even more, is the sister-song by Mumford & Sons from which “Learn Me Right” is taken. That song is called “Not With Haste” on their 2012 album BABEL.
Babel album
Here are the lyrics to Mumford & Sons’ “Not With Haste”:
Your eyes they tie me down so hard
I’ll never learn to put up a guard
So keep my love, my candle bright
Learn me hard, oh learn me right

This ain’t no sham
I am what I am

Though I may speak some tongue of old
Or even spit out some holy word
I have no strength from which to speak
When you sit me down, and see I’m weak

We will run and scream
You will dance with me
They’ll fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free

And we will be who we are
And they’ll heal our scars
Sadness will be far away

So as we walked through fields of green
Was the fairest sun I’d ever seen
And I was broke, I was on my knees
And you said yes as I said please

This ain’t no sham
I am what I am
I leave no time
For a cynic’s mind

We will run and scream
You will dance with me
Fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free

We will be who we are
And they’ll heal our scars
Sadness will be far away

Do not let my fickle flesh go to waste
As it keeps my heart and soul in its place
And I will love with urgency but not with haste

Watch them playing on stage here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIKE2_ZoUFE
The last verse of this song is my favorite. It’s a reminder that our lives on this Earth are “fickle,” fleeting, and short; and yet they are incredibly important! And not just to us ourselves because these lives belong to us, but the Bible tells us again and again that our lives matter to God. At the very beginning, God creates humans in his own image (Genesis 1:26). Then God sends messenger after messenger, prophet after prophet to speak to the human beings He has created to command, cajole, and plead with them to live in relationship with Him, their Creator. The Old Testament, especially the books of the prophets, are so full of longing on God’s part for a healed relationship between Him and the people of the world, for a renewed love between Creator and creation. And then in the New Testament, Jesus Christ (who is God in the flesh) actually lives a human life, feels human emotion, cares for the suffering people around him, and finally dies a human death. His whole life on Earth is a concrete example of how much God loves human beings and His creation.

So the question is, how do we respond to a God of love? Unfortunately, as Merida rebels against her mother in BRAVE, we often rebel against God, desiring our own way even if it leads to evil, danger, and destruction. There’s a scene in the movie where Merida slices the tapestry her mother is weaving of the family, creating a rip between the image of Merida and her mother. That rift symbolizes the broken relationship between God and sinner. Because our lives are short and we only get this one chance there is an urgency to love and life that Mumford & Sons capture in this song. I think the song is probably talking about human love, perhaps even a marriage proposal, but it can also serve to remind us of the urgent love we need from God and for God. And to live with that same urgency, allowing ourselves to be filled with the joy and the hope that comes from a relationship with God. We can muddle through life, feeling bored and depressed over the bad things that happen to us. Or we could rush around like ants in a rainstorm whose anthill is being destroyed (or like people at Disneyland, trying to ride all the rides in spite of the long lines!) and never appreciate the amazing gift that is life.

To love and live with urgency, but “not with haste” means to take the time to enjoy the gifts of love and life. It means creating space for loved ones, to talk and listen to each other, to put down the iPad, laptop or phone for a few minutes each day and just BE. It means making a sacred space in your day to pray to God and give thanks for your blessings, to ask for help and healing, and to listen to God’s reply in the words of Scripture, the still, small voice in your heart, or from people in your church or Christian community.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, your love for me is amazing, especially since I know I am a sinner. Rather than running around all through life, help me instead to run to you. Help me to live and love with urgency, and not with haste. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Pastor Ben serves at St. Mark Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Storm Lake, Iowa.

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