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MINISTER’S MUSING Rev. Robert P. Doner, Peace United Church of Christ Gladbrook, Iowa

December 4, 2009
Northern-Sun Print
“Make Me a Captive, Lord” The title of my article, Make Me a Captive, Lord, is based on the title of a hymn of the same name. It was written by George Matheson in 1890; Matheson was a Scottish minister, who, by age forty in 1882, knew that he was going blind. He suffered yet another disappointment at that same time; the woman that he was engaged to broke their engagement saying, “I do not wish to be married to a blind preacher.” Rev. Matheson wrote O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go at this crisis in his life; at a time when human love and support seemed to betray him, Matheson turned to the eternal love that is never broken. Such is the story behind Christmas. When our expectations regarding others relationships toward us seems broken there is the promise of an eternal love that is never broken. It can be trusted-always. It also changes how we view ourselves and our relationships with others and the world. “Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free.” Our expectations of others and their expectations of us often hold us in captivity. We act according to the conditions of our captivity and frequently fell we are bound by those conditions. We seek to break free but realize that in doing so we merely become shunned or are exiled by the others hat we have held as important to us. In Jesus we find our freedom; in God’s Son we find life and love that is born from on high, a love and a gift of life in union with the Holy that is eternal, even in the days that mark our earthly existence. “Force em to render up my sword, and I shall conqueror be,” wrote Matheson as he finishes the above thought. Christmas love, and the life that it establishes between God and self, calls for a response as powerful as God’s. The birth of Jesus leads to the death of Jesus on the cross. The death of Jesus leads to his resurrection and ascension. If we are to part of that love, to be partners in that love, we must also follow the Master’s path. We make ourselves captive to divine love and surrender our attempts to conquer those around us in the belief that we can force other to love us on our own terms. To know the depth of God’s love is to know that our love is given freely with terms or conditions. Later in the hymn Matheson wrote: “My heart is weak and poor until its master find.” Christmas love breaks the chains of worldly limitations of what true love and life together is all about. The prison door is opened and we are free to live and love-and to know that we are loved in turn-if not by human partners, then certainly by the Father above. If we come to Christmas with the spirit of openness, worried not about how to impress or manipulate God, or others, for that matter, we will find the Christ and we will have the light of spiritual revelation emanating over and through us as we find the peace and joy we’ve sought elsewhere. Let the love of Christmas’ coming be the time that baby Jesus captures your heart and frees you as the Christ, Savior of the world.


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