Is love enough? Lisa Hunt-Wotton
This week for me was a dark, but illuminating space if that makes sense. We are in a disturbing season on planet earth in so many areas its enough to make you want to hide under the bed and never come out. The world seems to have been turned topsy-turvy and all the absolutes that we used to count on are shifting. People we used to trust seem to be on the other side of the fence and leaders that we could count on are… well… lets just say, less than worthy of being followed.
This week I had several uninvited and robust discussions with people about same-sex marriage. I was clobbered with bible verses and thrown to the mat over what were obviously very important views for these people. Several people threw the love word at me. Yes, if you can throw love. ‘Love does not come into the picture here, we are talking about the preservation of marriage’ (bit ironic that one). OR ‘I do love them, I just don’t love what they do’. ‘There is a lot more to consider in this issue than just love’.
I was a little shocked to be honest and began to question my own theology.
Have I got this all wrong?
Is there more to consider than love?
Am I watering everything down?
Is love too weak a position to have these days with ‘the world escalating to the New World Order (where all sorts of unspeakable things are going to happen) and we (Christians) are in danger of being overthrown and jailed for what we believe.” (Yes this was said to me)
Many sleepless nights ensued. When finally I felt a whisper of hope. Literally a whisper of hope which woke me up yesterday.
Love, faith and hope remain but the greatest of these is love. (I Cor 13)
Where is the good news people? We are supposed to be the people of good news. Even I am scared of Christians at the moment. Where is the faith, the hope and the love? No wonder people are abandoning religion at staggering rates. Some of you are terrifying.
The greatest of these is love. Love is not weak, it is not an alternative theology and Yes it pretty much is all that you need to consider.
GOD IS LOVE – hello. It is who He is.
“Love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God … for God is love” (1 John 4:7–8).
Love is the greatest commandment (Mt. 22:36-40)
Love is the greatest thing. (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
Without love, nothing matters. (Gal. 5:6)
The fruit of the Spirit is love. (Gal. 5:22)
IF we are to throw the sacred texts like weapons at people then please get it right.
Jesus has to be the interpretative key to everything in the Bible.
Jesus was asked this: “Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?” Jesus answered:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.
School of Love
How many years have you spent studying love? How many workshops, conferences, books, schools have you attended on love? We were never called to be church goers, or even Christians. We are called to be disciples. Disciples are students and our teacher Jesus, came to teach us about love.
I would like to see less doctrinal wrangling in the church and more love. Brian McLaren,
We are called to love
Jesus teaches us to love God and to love others. Imagine how the statistics of rape and domestic violence would fade away if we truly learned to just love our families? But He didn’t stop there. He asks us to love the ‘other’. The outsider, the outcast, the stranger, the alien, and even the enemy. With the SAME love. To treat EVERYONE the way that we want to be loved and the way that we want to be treated. There is not longer US and THEM there is only US.
How does this stack up with our behaviour, language, engagement and response toward the other? To refugees, muslims, LGBTI, homeless, other ethnicities. Is it loving? Jesus’ rather clear teaching on love of enemies has been consistently ignored by all the mainline churches.
Conversation of love. “Tell me your story? What has life been like for you? Help me to understand. How can I support you, sit with you, listen to you? What breaks your heart? What is hurting right now?
We should see all people as brothers, sisters, neighbours, loving them as ourselves, standing with them in unity. Loving someone includes understanding them. Walking alongside them through all of life’s ups and downs.
Think of your child, your grandchild, your partner, your best friend. You don’t abandon them, or cut them off or turn your love off like a tap if they make a mistake or stumble. True love is selfless, it is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.
John offers an insight that resolves the paradox: if you don’t love your neighbor whom you have seen, you can’t love God whom you have not seen (1 John 4:20). His words recall Jesus’s own words: “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). (Source)
“Sacred texts always maximize your possibilities for life and love, which is why we call them sacred. I am afraid we have for too long used the Bible merely to prove various church positions, which largely narrows their range and depth. Instead of transforming people, the Biblical texts became utilitarian and handy ammunition. Rohr.
Love for the other also extends to love for creation. When God told Noah to make an ark, is was not just to save humanity. It was to save all of creation. All the differences, paradoxes and opposites shut up inside a boat with the door locked. What a picture of the preservation and celebration of diversity and otherness.
In conclusion, I would have to say that love IS the only thing to consider. Love is enought. If I am wrong, then I will gladly be wrong on the side of love.
“Jesus does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them”. (Saint Therese of Lisieux)
“All that we do is a means to an end, but love is an end in itself because God is love”. (St. Maria Teresa of the Cross [Edith Stein])
Featured image by Trunk Animation.
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