On Possession

I sat down to a few minutes at our newly-tuned piano this morning and picked up a collection of K. Lee Scott hymns, many of which have texts by Timothy Dudley-Smith. The man is a true poet. I was struck, and then struck again, by his use of the word “possess” and the strong imagery it conjured up for me. We think of that word in terms of possessions – things that belong to us. Usually relatively worthless things, at that. “Possessions aren’t what matter.” But he uses it as a verb, himself as the object.

O living Lord of Life, for whom the heavens held their breath,
To see, triumphant from the tomb, a love that conquers death,
Possess my heart, that it may be your kingdom without end,
O Christ who died for love of me, and lives to be my friend.

I needed that this morning as I fight against depression. And this too:

Let truth and righteousness and grace in peace possess your soul.

The idea of self as a possession is safe and secure. And demanding.

Then there was this, too, from the matchless text, There In God’s Garden, written by some Eastern European guy in the 1600s and translated/paraphrased by Erik Routley this past century.

See how its branches reach to us in welcome;
Hear what the Voice says, “Come to me, ye weary!
Give me your sickness, give me all your sorrow,
I will give blessing.”
This is my ending, this my resurrection;
Into your hands, Lord, I commit my spirit.
This have I searched for; now I can possess it.
This ground is holy.
All heav’n is singing, “Thanks to Christ whose Passion
Offers in mercy healing, strength, and pardon.
Peoples and nations, take it, take it freely!”
Amen! My Master!

The use of “possess” in this caught my imagination, too, after having already noticed it twice, used differently. It reminded me of Josh’s recent sermon, I think on Revelation?, in which he reminded us that we are free from the bondage and power of sin, by Christ’s blood. Guilt is gone, objectively. We need not live in its power. This is good news for me.


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