I have several times referred to Sara Groves work as a model of Christian art. Today I have in mind her song Twice as Good. In it she contemplates the unique power of the Gospel:
with my good news your dancing on the table
I am not sure I can say much without losing the power which fills these verses. That there is a good news which doesn’t just cheer us or give us hope but which is like the force of which brings life in springtime is a cause for celebration.
Such joyful power causes the spontaneous creation of new life…is this not the story of creation, of the annunciation and incarnation?
The Gospel is not simply a mental construct, but the energy of life itself. Just as the blooms of the desert sense the coming season, so to does our heart by faith live in sensed experience of the life of God and in greater anticipation of God’s coming.
And just as the blooms of the desert are thrown into activity by such energy, life giving and affirming activity, so too is it with us.
It is no accident that we have over the years referred to baby-making as “the birds and the bees.” Looking back at the medieval poem Sumer Is Cumen In, we see the same celebration of life, as in all pastoral poetry from Hesiod onward. It is also no accident that such a poem has been adapted with Christian themes. Because after all, all poetry which celebrates life and birth is Christian.
Sumer Is Cumen In recognizes that the drive to reproduce, the same drive which unites creatures with their mates (that is what we reduce now to the sexual urge) is not simply a bodily lust driven within the individual. It is expressive of times and seasons which celebrate the return of life. The lamb, the bull, the ram, they seek their mate because the season has stirred something in them that runs deeper than we truly realize. This urge runs deep into the roots of our soul which seeks to celebrate and know life. This urge is in fact in likeness to the divine joy which overflowed in the act of creation and which continues to overflow.
Of course, this urge since the fall, and our understanding of it, has been confused. Its roots have been obscured. We have come to think of sexuality as an expression of the needs for individual pleasure, something abstracted from the goodness of creation. Procreation and sexuality have been reduced to a kind of solipsistic and despairing pursuit of momentary pleasure.
But in Sara Groves song, in the stirrings of Spring, in the hope and longing of the human heart, we can yet hear the echos of a greater truth.
Our sexuality is ultimately a desire for unity, to celebrate, and to bring forth our joy concretely in communion with another. And such joy is not unfruitful, but is of such wondrous power that it brings forth the blossoms, causes the cows to calf, and babies everywhere to be born.
Mothers and fathers who do not rob themselves of this gift of life, even when they have sowed in unrighteousness, yet often come to see some of this joy when they meet their child. Our children remain forever a sign of hope and promised blessing, of love which brings forth life, despite our failure to love rightly.
Despite the confused extravagance of weddings, despite conjugal infidelity and distorted and selfish desires we express in sexuality, God has not permitted this Gospel sign to be wholly erased from the earth. And with each spring, with every new birth, there is yet presented to us a reminder of divine power and generosity, and in this power is life and joy.