Sixty-year old dancin’ skirts swirled around as the war veteran and his belle danced at the All American Swing concert last weekend. The dancefloor was full of such couples, the hunched man gently holding his lover’s wrinkled hand as the dance slowed to a flowing breeze. How long have they been married? How many times danced these dances? Do they remember holidays when the smartly-uniformed man joined his wife in the absence-wrought fondness? Several songs went by, and it was clear that they were trying to forget the arthritis that was creeping through their bodies as they swung the moves of yesteryear. No fatalities had occurred when we hit the 45-minute mark, which I only remember because that is the time when a young, early 20’s couple stood to take the dancefloor. I felt this contained scoff come from within me – who were they to take the floor with couples who had been dancing together for 60 years? They were all lovey-dovey, but do they recognize that they have not yet attained love? Will they suffer all wrongs, take no offense, sacrifice for one another – know the true passion of those who have tested it and tried it and found it has little to do with feelings? One day, I hope, they will know the beauty that through trials grows ever more lovely in the beholder’s eye.
Burn my soul, dear God above, that all dross this day may banished be. I offer here myself a sacrifice, blinded by the blemish that I have become. The sin which so easily entangles has done well its work in me, until from the depths I cry unto Thee, knowing full well that Thine is the only hand that can make me clean. Yet lingers a fear, a shame that downcasts my soul – have I the faith to touch Thy hem as a woman years ago had done? This is the fire of which I speak: a cleansing flame by Spirit driven that returns me to the dust from which I came. But in my dying I am raised, for spotless Christ proclaims, “She is in Me and I in her – My blood has made us one”. The fragrance now raised before the Throne is that of mingled flesh, as all sin, shame and spot are burned. My Husband has once again presented a spotless Bride to Thee.
Oh would that it did end there! But you, my whoring soul, are so like Israel, that day after after day this same must be done. How great is my desire to be true, faithful, and pure and yet how great my shame as once again you find me selling my soul to another. How well Thou knowest Hosea’s grief! I beg, therefore, that through judgement and patience Thou would teach me to be a Wife. I seek to be not a daughter of Eve but a daughter of Mary. Through the power of Christ, may the incense of this handmaiden’s faithful prayers be greater than the fragrance of my sacrificed sins. And in this may I be a pleasing aroma, the Fragrance of Christ to Thee.