In this country’s mountainous regions there are many locations dubbed “Lovers’ Leap”. They all have associated legends, many involving Native Americans, and with variations on the “Romeo and Juliet” theme. (Perhaps there is a Lovers’ Leap legend in Great Britain and that’s where Shakespeare got the idea.) One legend in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia has a white settler and the Chief’s daughter falling in love. After much scorn and exclusion from both families, the couple embraced and plummeted to their death to be together forever. Another location has a closer sequence to “Romeo and Juliet” – the two lovers were from different tribes, and members of the maiden’s tribe attacked the brave and left him for dead at the top of a cliff. The maiden found him, and thinking he was dead, she jumped off. When he awoke and discovered what had happened, he threw himself over to be with her.
Jesus’ refers to a different type of Lover’s Leap in the sixth chapter of the Book of Luke:
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23 ESV.
The reactions Jesus describes are also those associated with the Lovers’ Leap legends: scorn, exclusion, and hatred. The legends end in tragedy, yet Jesus tells us instead of jumping off a cliff, we should respond with a leap for joy.
That is humanly hard to grasp. We can understand the leap for joy made by those who had been physically crippled their whole life and were miraculously healed by Jesus (and Peter and Paul). However, in this passage, Jesus says we are blessed if we’re treated like the ill-fated lovers of the legends. That doesn’t sound like a miracle – or does it?
The critical phrase in Jesus’ statement is the requirement that our suffering be “on account of the Son of Man”. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “what glory is it” if we’re hated and scorned because we’re hateful and scornful ourselves? No, our enduring this type of suffering is “acceptable to God” and we can leap for joy only because of whom we love: Jesus Christ.
And what’s the miracle behind this lover’s leap for joy?
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
This post is part of the Christian Writers blog chain. Our theme for this month is “Leap”. Please see the list to the right and visit my friends’ blogs to see what they have to say about this topic.
38 thoughts on “Lover’s Leap for Joy?”
What a blessing to have this reminder that we have cause to “leap for joy” even in the daily desert of this Christian walk. It gives one motivation to look on the bright side of things…. 🙂 To ask the ‘well, why am I being treated unfairly? do they have cause?’ and then being given the opportunity to reflect and improve our character.
Really excellent post, Bill. You have a way of presenting that is easy to grasp and remember. Reminds me of one of my favorite pastors when I lived in Oregon.
Thank you very much Nona – that’s a very kind (and humbling) reference to your pastor.
Good post. You bring up some great key points about persecution. This phrase is loaded with meaning, too: “…for so their fathers did to the prophets.” In other words, lots of prior examples to reflect on!
Thanks, Michael – yea, I had to make myself stay focused because of all the other possibilities. I told my wife it could be a full length article with some expansion on several points.
In all things give thanks, or instead give leaps of joy!
Great post. Paul’s makes a good point.
Peace and Blessings
Thanks E G – Peace and Blessings to you too
I didn’t know about the Indian legends concerning Lover’s Leap. Interesting!
Thanks Pegg – I hadn’t thought about it either until I searched around.
Interesting post! I’m not up for leaping off any cliff! 🙂 But, if scorned, I now know to leap for JOY! God Bless You!
God Bless you too!
Great post, Bill. I appreciate the reminder that we need to let joy guide us and not the negative emotions that can result from life’s happenings.
Thanks, Traci – it’s definitely easy to go with the negative unless we make a specific effort to go the other way towards joy.
hey Bill great post.
i had a google peek to see how many lovers leaps there are but gave up at the invitation to ‘Take the ultimate leap of faith tied to your lover on our Lovers Leap Bungee Jump!’
Thanks Jack – I didn’t come across that one, but I have to say it doesn’t interest me!
What you are talking about is just what I needed to hear.
Thanks, Mike – that’s a blessing to me
I’m really loving this month’s chain so far. Every post has been a different twist on the word. what a beautiful picture and what a great way to go from ‘lover’s leap’ (suicide) to risking it all for the gospel.
Awesome analogy and story. Great that you found a ‘leap’ scripture to use as well! 🙂
Thank You Debra
When I read on this I’m often reminded that we are not of this world and our true home is in heaven. While here, we will be persecuted for following Jesus. Great reminders, thanks for sharing. (By the way, Romeo and Juliet is one of my fave Shakespeare plays, I just hate the ending!!) 😉
Thanks and you’re welcome Suzette. Yes, the Romeo and Juliet ending is kinda sad!
Great post Bill. There is nothing more dark and depressing than the lover’s leap, and yet you turn this on its heard and show us how something positive can come out of our persecution, when it received because of our faith in Jesus. This is a great thing to be reminded.
Thank you Adam. Glad it “reminded” you as it did me.
VERY nice, Bill! I’m also reminded of John the Baptist who lept in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary came to visit. I’d like to do a biblical word search on leap for joy–you’ve really got me a-thinkin’! Thanks.
Thanks Carol – glad to get you a-thinkin’! I don’t remember many “leap for joy” except this one but there are several “leap” variations. That’s in the KJV – might be interesting to search in other translations too.
Outstanding, Bill! I so enjoyed this post! Now I’m simply sitting with the words of Luke 6:22-23 ESV letting them sink deep. It’s all about perspective, from who’s side we’re looking, and toward what end. What joy!
Thank you Cindee – I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Thank you Bill for your wonderful Link on this month’s Chain. I really loved your analogy and the reminder that it’s not about our comfort-It’s about Jesus. Blessings with your writing!
Thanks Terrie and thanks for the blessings!
Well, according to this, I am blessed. I suppose I should take that leap now, yes?
Great take on this topic, Bill. What a blessing.
Thank you Deborah – it’s a hard leap to take, but according to Jesus, we should take it – and through His power and love, we can!
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