Prayer for an Undivided LoveJanuary 21, 2022 Love
Raised in a Presbyterian and Reformed congregation in Mexico, I grew up singing many praise and worship songs written by English-speaking Christian artists and translated into Spanish. We sang songs by Keith and Kristin Getty, Chris Tomlin, and others.
But the musician who has stuck most with me since I have moved back to the US is named Jesus Adrian Romero, who was raised Catholic and converted to Protestantism (Jesus is a very typical name among Catholics in Mexico).
Romero has recorded more than 10 albums between 1989 and 2019 (15 if you count compilations). I don't support that he is a self-ordained pastor (along with other members of his family) and has started his own "church". Despite these things, I have been sustained in very meaningful ways in my pastoring, and in prayer, through his music. Romero focuses a lot on soul-work and the cultivating of our hearts like gardens for the Lord.
One of his songs on the newest album is a lament:
"I forgot to care for my orchard
While caring for foreign ones
I forgot to work the land that is inside of me
I forgot to sit quietly and listen to your voice
I forgot to close my eyes and see."
Here, Romero isn’t praying for an escape from reality, but a prayerful dependence on God. Many pastors and parents can relate to spending time trying to serve others spiritually and forget to “work the land” of our own hearts cultivating a meaningful relationship with Christ.
He sings on…
"And your river was drying up
That gave life to my orchard."
"Come and repose over this orchard
Which had lost your fragrance
Come and fill me again with your presence
Come and quench my thirst."
It's difficult to articulate why I appreciate his music and why it's sustained me. I think it's put words to a prayer I didn't know I needed to pray. At the end of the day, I’ll often listen to this music while washing the dishes or putting them away and pray that God would make my heart wholly committed to Him.
One of the most memorable songs on an earlier album is a prayer called "Mi Universo" (My Universe). It's hard to translate but goes something like this:
"I wish you were my whole universe
I wish you were everything I desired and pondered,
My first breath in the mornings,
and the light in my window at nights,
I wish you would inhabit each of my thoughts,
That your presence and power were my nourishment,
O Jesus, this is my desire."
This is my prayer for 2022. That my heart would be undivided in its love for Christ.
T.S. Eliot, in his The Waste Land and Other Poems, wrote,
“No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice.”
I’m praying for time and desire to internalize Scripture, reflect on it in prayer and make time to seek God’s face this year.
In His Service,
What Pastor Adrian is reading . . .
The Christian’s True Identity
by Jonathan Landry Cruse
I’ve very much appreciated working through Cruse’s book on union with Christ. He explores themes like being chosen, adopted, secure, and alive in Christ. Cruse makes a compelling case that the modern ideal of finding your true self inside and then expressing it to the world will always leave us feeling empty and alone. It’s only through union and identity in Christ, discovering Paul’s words, “You are not your own, you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) that we find ourselves.
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness
by Timothy Keller
In this brief little sermon, Keller explains that true freedom comes when we see our judgment has happened already in Christ. Explaining 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, he reminds us that in most places in life we try to perform well to secure a good verdict. For Christians, this order is reversed. In Christ, we receive the verdict - righteous, accepted by God - which leads to a whole new way of living.