This spoken word piece was written and performed by Natalie Yap, a participant of School of Witness 2014. Borne out of a realisation of the truth of God’s stubborn love in our lives, this piece captures and expresses the human heart’s attempt to grasp and fathom the magnitude of God’s great love for every single one of his children. Read on for more on our behind-the-scenes process and reflections.
Stubborn Love: A Reflection
by Michelle Png
Nat’s spoken word made me realise the truth of God’s stubborn love in my life and how He truly does not stop loving us regardless of what we do or don’t do. Hearing her words humbled me and reminded me of how I should be less stubborn in what I want to do or even in unknowingly rejecting God’s love – to surrender continuously to Him and receive His love for me.
Filming the spoken word performed by Nat was also a blessed moment for me. It was a great joy to work with the team – made up of familiar strangers, some people I have never met before but yet we were bonded by the Body of Christ. It was an experience of One Church coming together to “make something beautiful for God” according to St Mother Teresa of Calcutta and it was this that carried us through the process. I found joy in capturing the beauty of Nat’s words and the way she performed them. It was a time I truly admired the beauty of God’s creation arising from scratch through Nat’s and Trudy’s work. I realised we are so graced by God in the gifts and talents He has given us and so generously allows us to share in the work of His constant creations of art.
Read on for the full text.
by Natalie Yap
Ever since I was a child I fought to get my way. You see, a wrong had to be a wrong and a right, a right. The opinions I formed of my life and the world around me could not be anything but true and so even at the tender age of 5, when someone insisted that Mary was not “Mother” but simply “Woman”, I resisted.
You see, I am stubborn. It’s a quality I share with my Father. Except my stubbornness stems from pride, sometimes an unwillingness to be wrong, sometimes the conviction that things have to be made right. My stubbornness is a badge that I wear because I have not yet mastered the virtue of humility, an inability to hold my tongue for love of my neighbour, the persistent avoidance of a topic I do not wish to go over. My stubbornness is the defiant glare of a child who looks at her father and challenges Him to look at all her wrongs and still dare to love her, the constant rejection of a gift freely offered.
You see, I am stubborn. It’s a quality I share with my Father.
His stubbornness far outbids mine in its fervour, a defining characteristic so constant in His behaviour. His stubbornness existed right at the beginning of time, when He spoke light into darkness and life into creation. It began before you or I could even begin to fathom the love He showed from generation to generation
From the very beginning His plan was one of FULL redemption, an invitation into His household, a divine filiation.
So five covenants He formed, five solemn and sacred oaths
Foreshadowing the sixth which with His own blood He wrote
Formed a bond through marriage with Adam the first forefather, promising deliverance to the first son and daughter; then the head of the household kept safe in the ark, and God’s family assumed a domestic population with Noah; Abraham the chieftain ruled over ONE tribe, Moses turned TWELVE into ONE NATION on Mount Sinai, and David, anointed King of Israel, danced before the Lord – tried to build Him a house, but was instead promised a house from God. An everlasting throne of the Son of David promised reign over not just a tribe or a nation, but a KINGDOM built upon God’s own name.
And although all five covenants were violated one by one, still our sin against God could not render these oaths undone – God’s stubborn love for us remained and He sent His only Son.
From Our Lady’s trusting “Fiat” to the Son’s “Thy Will be Done”, Son of God became son of man and through His death and resurrection, new life for us was won. In Him the old were perfected, and through the new we ALL became one.
But this is not just some long fable to behold, a series of stories in the Bible to be retold
The love that is preached is present here in this very moment, standing still in the visible image of Christ the Saviour
With a hand on His heart, bleeding and bruised, and another outstretched, beckoning us to choose –
For you see, the stubbornness of Love is one that knows no bounds, present in each moment it is thoroughly insistent on being around. It is the voice that calls to me in my wilderness, the tenderness of the Shepherd who rescues all scattered in mist and darkness. THIS is the relentless love that dares to look beyond our weaknesses, the song of a lover who hastens here to love us. It is the voice of the Father who whispers to me in the silence: “You are my beloved; Most beautiful, precious, daughter.”
So while my stubbornness is but a tenacious grip on all my failures, an insistence on running away in cowardly behaviour, His is the voice that lovingly beckons me to trust and find consolation in His heart no matter my blunder. And though I insist that I am the one who so cruelly crowned His heart with thorns, ever more He reaches out, though wounded in His centre – stubborn is His love because love is His true nature.
And so I am learning, through His stubbornness that I am not a failure, that through His sacrifice I no longer drown in waters of destruction but am by grace fully submerged in the streams of salvation. I am learning that Love is so stubborn that there exists between us no “abandonment”, because Love wants and dares to choose me over and over again for all of life’s duration. And though I insist I am unlovable, Love pierces through with greater insistence in the form of a gaze so gentle, so True, so Beautiful, so full of Love and so worthy of exaltation.
And how can I look upon Love’s gentle invitation and not respond in love, though mine is so weak in comparison?
So let me be stubborn in my acceptance of His love, making a bold declaration that I am no longer an orphan but one of God’s chosen people in God’s chosen generation – let me stubbornly choose His love again and again, and even when I fail let me never give in – for Love never needed my help to win, and yet love asks for my hand in this dance, my small humble “yes” so that Love can move on – can move IN to my heart and shake things around, knock down my old house, build a new one on solid ground. And though I might falter and fail to give in, I know love will fight on stubbornly, and His stubborn love will always win.