Thursday, August 04, 2016

Devotion

Robert Frost began a poem about devotion with these words:

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean. 

I read these words while my father and I camped out together between my graduation from college and my wedding day. As we set on the shore of Red Hills Lake in East Texas, I thought maybe Robert Frost was right. Shores lay stuck to oceans,

Holding the curve of one position
Counting an endless repetition.

This endless repetition surely had to be the clearest picture of devotion. 

Then it hit me I was about to get married.

Padre Island National Seashore
Shores have no choice in their devotion. They are cemented to their ocean partner without the freedom to leave the relationship. Oceans, too, hopelessly pound their boundaries with no other options. A greater devotion, I thought, had to be having the choice not to be devoted to someone but dedicating yourself to that one person with all the other options still out there. Surely marriage was a better picture of devotion than "being shore to the ocean."

Some years later, Frost's poem came to mind as I meditated on Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Son of God, with all that was at his disposal to escape death and suffering at the hands of those he had created, prayed:

If this is what you want for me,
may your will be done, not mine.

Jesus had a literal universe of options not to go through with the Father's plans for his death. He had the freedom not to devote himself to His Father's will. But with sweat drops of blood on his brow, he submitted his life to death on a cross as a "ransom for many."

Robert Frost nor I had thought of the ultimate image of devotion. Everything in human experience pales in comparison to Jesus' devotion to the Father's will. Maybe the poem should read:

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than Christ to the Father's Notion.

I'm not a poet, so don't judge me on the verse. However, if you ever wonder what the ultimate expression of devotion looks like, look to Jesus' devotion to God's Plan for his life. 

Read Matthew 26:36-46 to recall Jesus' devotion to the Father.

What other examples might you have for the meaning of devotion?

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