Friday, November 6, 2009

The Perfect Lover: How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus - Unyielding Commitment

(click for previous chapter: Unconditional Love, part 2)

Unconditional love is founded in suffering, a cost, like the seeds of a tree are planted in dirt and must die before sprouting. But like that tree, unconditional love bears amazing, delectable fruit evident in how Edward treats Bella, reflecting how Jesus treats us. The other hero attributes are the fruits from the tree of unconditional love, and the first one to bloom is unyielding commitment.

Another word for it is covenant. According to Merriam-Webster, that’s a “usually formal, solemn and binding agreement.” A covenant (or promise or treaty or oath) requires trust as well as trustworthiness. Both parties have a role and a responsibility to fulfill.

This happens in the meadow for Edward and Bella. First, she trusts him enough to go alone with him without telling anyone else about it. She exercises an act of faith. She continues to trust him even as they drive to the secret destination he has in mind. He says, “Now we drive until the pavement ends.” (Twilight, pg. 254) And she does, no questions asked. As they hike through the woods, off the beaten path, he leads but goes at her pace. When they get close enough and the destination is clear, he lets her lead. All acts of trust and faith.

The meadow represents a sort of holy of holies, a sacred, private, intimate place of revelation in which Edward shares his secrets with Bella. While they are there, they commune on a level they have not yet experienced together. And it is in the meadow that Edward makes a promise … never to hurt her. The meadow is their sanctuary. A seal is placed over their relationship that binds them together almost supernaturally.

In the Old Testament, God reaches down from Heaven to form a covenant with Abraham. (Gen. 15) detailing extensive responsibilities for each party. This covenant was motivated by love and fulfilled by faith.

Later, when the Israelites built a tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, the most sacred dwelling place of The Ark of the Covenant, was an intimate yet dangerous place. Only one special person, the high priest, was allowed in the special inner sanctum on one special day of the year. (Do you get the part about it being special?) The high priest wore a robe with bells on the hem (Ex.28:33-34) and a rope around his ankle so that the other priests could pull his body out if something happened to him since they were not permitted to go into the Holy of Holies for any reason. (click here for more info.)

The meeting consisted of God and one person.


In the New Testament, Jesus’ death on the cross produced entry into the inner sanctum for you and me. In fact, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the world ripped apart, a physical and symbolic message from God Almighty. (Matt. 27:50-51) Still, the meeting between us and God is one-on-one, even more intimate, actually, because we can experience it for ourselves, not through a surrogate or high priest.

We could have made the analogy if we just had the Old Testament. But with the New Covenant because of what Jesus did for us…

I’ll say it again. Wo.

Jesus draws us to His meadow, His holy of holies, an intimate place, because He wants to reveal more of who He is, a desire born out of a love relationship. He asks us to trust Him, place our faith in Him, follow His lead, go to the sacred place with Him. It’s an “off the path” journey that is sometimes difficult and exhausting, but it leads to an incredible, breath-taking, magnificent, beautiful meadow where He shows us His glory (think: skin shimmering like diamonds in sunlight).

At the end of meadow scene in which Edward promises Bella never to hurt her, the infamous line occurs: “So the lion fell in love with the lamb.” (Twilight, pg. 274)

Interesting choice of words.

In the Bible, Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah, and we humans are often compared to lambs. Not masochistic or stupid, as expressed in our fairy tale (okay, maybe the lambs are still stupid, just not for loving the lion), but the other characteristics can certainly be applied.

A Lion pledging unyielding commitment to a lamb is an awesome thing.

Have a good weekend. Tune in Monday, though, because we're not done! Read How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus and showed me a thing or two about timely rescue.

See you then!

(click for next chapter: Timely Rescue)