Hyacinth Stevens, is co-pastor of King of Glory Tabernacle in the Bronx, New York. She is also a program coordinator for MCC East Coast in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and Religion, a Masters of Administration and a Masters of Public Affairs. She serves on Mennonite Women USA board as the African American Mennonite Association representative (AAMA). Hyacinth and her husband Benjamin Stevens have four children.
The purposeful pursuit, to be loved, to be seen, to be known as the beloved, to be vulnerable, accepted and embraced by the grace of the I AM that I AM in our lives.
O, To Be Close to You …
The passionate love story begins in Genesis.
The journey of the created and the creator.
The dance of existence, the winded breath of new beginning. The moment of formation, intimacy and reflection which released the divine image of Us, the created. As with most stories of passion there is always the character of the antagonist. So, it was that day in the garden when the Love Thief came in the form of a serpent. Its mission was to rob, steal, kill and destroy. Its lure had nothing to do with Eve and Adam’s wellbeing. The shape shifter didn’t love them but rather deceived them. The one who introduces a version of “love” but wait, are there versions of love? The cloaked invitation, counterfeit, distorted version of “love “begins with enticing or seduction. This falsehood is driven by self-interest: gain, self -promotion, identity, title, hidden agenda and other me at the center reasons.
In a moment, with a bite of the forbidden fruit an act of deceptive influence had occurred.
Both the creator and the created could feel the occurrence of an unexpected separation –
O, to be close to you, that is my desire …
As reflected on from Genies 3. A wedge, a disconnect from the beloved has occurred — The sound of heaven touching earth, first in a whisper, then in shout, then in a cry … where are you? Where are you? Where are YOU? Can we behold the image of the El Shaddai grieving:
O, to be close to you, is my desire …
A brief dialogue begins with the creator and created, “Where are you?” The created responds, “We are hiding, we are naked.” The creator, “Who told you, you were naked?” A barrier of identity that continues to follow us. Who am I? What is my purpose? Where is my value? The dialogue continues today.
“I’m not enough.”
“Who told you, you weren’t enough.”
“Who told you couldn’t?”
“I’ll never …”
“Who told you you’ll never …?”
O, to be close to you, this is my desire …
So often we find ourselves in a hide and seek continuum with the divine. The catch me if you can moments. The places of will and intention where we try to operate in self-governance. We too often forget whose image and likeness we’ve been made in. We struggle in the finite spaces of our minds with always trying to cover or nakedness. We struggle with vulnerability, to be seen for who we are in both the good and immoral. Yet, something deep in the place of origin says, I don’t want to hide. Creator, I want to be reconnect. Can we obtain what was lost in the exposure of our nakedness.
Christ has created a way back. As in 1 Corinthians 1:25:
“Consider before Christ how many of us were born of noble birth, how influential were we? Were we wise based on human standards?”
But in Christ there is opportunity to rediscover, to experience a deepening of who we are. The giving and modeling of love lived out loud.
O, to be close to you, is my desire …
The spaces of solitude Jesus takes to model and bear witness to holy ground on earth, spaces where the I AM is.
The places of solitude where we can once again be shaped, seen, known and loved.
To be close to you, is my desire …
The power of Christ is foolish to the wise.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things to nullify the things that are … so that no one can boast. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1: 27- 30).
Today be foolish enough to acknowledge Christ, which is, to acknowledge the power of God. The image of the invisible seen, the lost relationship restored. The love and the beloved together. During this Holy Week, let us follow the way of Christ. Let us follow Christ’s way of love, passion, grace and power. We are empowered by Christ to be graphed into the power and properties of boundless love. Through Christ, yes, we can be close the creator and the created the beloved and Love.