Be Mine, I'm Yours

Happy Valentine's Day, party people!  (Sorry I'm a day late.  I've been a bit off my game since this past weekend.  Long story.)

Can we just talk for a moment about how hilarious these candy hearts are?  "He Fit, U Fat"?!  "Return My CDs"?!?!  Hilarious.  The boy who gets me these will have my heart forever.

One of the things I love about Valentine's Day are those little candy hearts that taste like chalk and are virtually indestructible. Seriously. They'll be here with the rats after the nuclear holocaust.  Sadly, I didn't get any candy hearts this year. I did however, see a whole display of them in the BYU Bookstore (whilst purchasing a few books...*cough* *cough* I'm totally addicted.)  One of the boxes caught my eye.   It featured two candy hearts: one that said "Be Mine" and another that said "I'm Yours." And it got me thinking.

Whose am I?  Am I mine to give away?  

Case in point, I was reading recently a new translation of the Heidelberg Catechism (which you can read in its entirety here).  The translation was moving in the first question and answer:
I belong,
body and spirit,*
while I live and when I die,
not to myself
but to Jesus Christ
my faithful Savior.

Beautiful, right?  But more importantly, doesn't it cast our relationship with Deity in just the right light?

I wonder sometimes if this is something we cognitively know, but don't necessarily believe through and through.  If we did, wouldn't or actions be less autonomous?  Wouldn't our actions reflect a little bit more recognition to our true ownership?

This brings up a larger issue that I think might often be misunderstood in the Scriptures.  When dealing with Christ, His parables and the writings of His prophets, there is a lot of language with slavery imagery.  That's a hard thing for we Latter-day Greeks to handle.  We like freedom and sovereignty.  We have a distaste in our mouths for slavery, and for good reason!  However, I think this distaste affects how we read those Scriptures, instead of taking them as part of the culture in which they were given and instead of realizing that, while we have agency, we are not agents free of ties to Deity.  The reality is that we are owned, we are purchased...regardless of whether we choose to believe such.

And there's a lot of beauty in that fact.  In the ancient Near East, for example, a servant–meaning someone who was not owned, but was a free agent–could serve a family all day, every day of his or her life and still walk away at the end of their lives with nothing save the money that was due them.  A slave, however, someone who may have had free will, but was not free of ownership, would often be adopted into the family.  This slave, who had given his or her all and every effort to serve the family, would be adopted into the family and receive an inheritance alongside the rest of the patriarch's posterity.  The slave would become a rightful heir to the patriarch's kingdom.

Such is the case with us.

But, today, we feel more comfortable with familial talk.  So we largely ignore the verbs that imply purchasing and nouns that necessarily implicate us as slaves to a master.  And, that's okay.  But think about this:  our earthly parents own us for life.  We are theirs.  So much so that we are sealed to them as theirs for eternity.  Such is the case with our Heavenly Parents.  We are Theirs and have been so stretching both ways into eternity.

I recently read a totally unrelated post on Segullah, which capped off with a beautiful paragraph about the care that our Father has for us.  Catherine writes:
Our God is a sleepless God. He is vigilant. He is awake. He is inexhaustibly aware – even when things don’t appear to be going as planned. Even when the results leave us broken – so broken we wonder if we can ever be fixed. He is watching over us.  For we are His.

The ownership that Deity has over us is should be of immense comfort.  They watch over us with the care of a Father, Mother or Big Brother (I freely acknowledge that 'Big Brother' has a slightly creepy connotation, but you get what I'm saying, yes?).  There is protection there.  There is love.

But I wonder.  I wonder if in this day, in the culture that we have cultivated, whether thinking of Deity in merely familial ties is sufficient.  Do we truly realize how indebted we are?  Are we cognizant each day of our absolute duty to uphold to these Caregivers?  These Life-givers?  I'm not sure that we do, partly because we don't realize it with our earthly families either.

Perhaps the point is this:  Love God like a Father.  Serve Him like a slave with a bit more indebtedness.  In so doing, you will be ensured a place in the kingdom as one of His rightful heirs.

* "Spirit" here is my translation from the Latin, with a nod toward the understanding that we have from the Gospel about a soul being composed of a body and of a spirit.  The original translation that I'm quoting read "body and soul."


Drew Magleby said...

I used to have a God's Property T-shirt when I was in high school. I was surprised at how many people, mostly adults would compliment me on it.*S%3F&GUID=2f4e4ef912e0a0aa1822c392ffe6cc6b&itemid=350323542854&ff4=263602_309572

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