The truest form of love is present, abiding in the deepest reaches of hearts that know its name and the promise it carries. This love dwells within the community of hearts that call it Lord and seek to keep his covenant. Where we might understand present to mark a brief encounter with time or a state of mental responsiveness, God has defined it as something else entirely. We find meaning for this word as we read the end of Exodus: “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle”. Present defined by powerful presence. Space filled with life.
God’s promise to us is profound. “I am the Lord your God”. I Am. Yours. A wholly sustained Creator relentlessly pursuing our broken hearts, gifting us with life that spills out for its abundance, the fullness of which we simply can’t fathom for our destiny to die if we see it. This holiness demands great care. Entire books of the bible were set aside to preserve and carry out the necessary cleansing of his earthly vessel, first in the tabernacle and then our hearts. It is in these texts that we begin to understand the depth of our sin and the miracle of God’s promise.
Some might chafe at these Old Testament laws and New Testament truths. I have. The world rejects them as demeaning, senseless, shaming. Yet, God is holy, without sin. Then, it is not the laws he has established that are condemning but the sin we carry. What we do to one another is corrupt. The condition of our hearts creates chaos and disorder. His promise to be present requires washing of dirty hearts with the blood of the Only, and his truths train us to love well. Together they make pure those that offer a surrendered heart to keep him.
Consider the lillies the Lord dresses so well, bearing fully the glory of the Creator, living simply and purely as they were designed to be. To live purely is to receive our Creator’s glory, fully dressed in the splendor of his presence. Not that we have fashioned new foliage for ourselves but because he has chosen us to be his testimony and inheritance. Then, the power of these presence-filled pure hearts begins to breathe holy, uncontaminated life into the darkest, deepest, grayest places.
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your bothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)