My Meditation for Beresheth tonight...
Google the word “Love” and you’ll find information or pictures about porn, Jesus and everything in between. Everyone is an expert on love and everyone has an opinion about love.
“Love stinks” wrote the J. Geils Band.
Meatloaf tells us that he’ll “do anything for love, but [he] won’t do that.”
Whereas Whitney assures us that “I-e-i-e-I will always love you.”
Even the first love song of the movie Moulin Rouge, sung back and forth between the two main characters Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, is composed as a dialogue using over 20 pop culture love songs.
We all think we’ve got the scoop on love. I know I do.
I love my family with an enduring, entangled love.
I love my friends with a loyal, fierce love.
I love God with a mysterious, dependant love.
I love my cats with a maternal, delightful love.
I love my dog with a wondering, out-of-nowhere love.
I’ve fallen in love several times. Those loves have been naïve, co-dependant, youthful, mature, honest, deep, natural, connected, respectful, admiring love. You should see the list of people I’ve loved and well, lost. I mean, I’ve almost been married twice! Surely that should make me an expert on love. Or maybe not.
I could tell you what I’ve learned about love from Jesus.
I’ve learned from Jesus that it’s extended to everyone. Samaritans, Women, Prostitutes, Tax Collectors, Doctors, Fishermen, Housewives, Mothers, Fathers, Children, Pharisees, Lepers, Mourners, Rejoicers, the rich and famous, the poor, and even me.
I’ve learned from Jesus that it’s unconditional. There are no pre-requisites to being loved by God. There aren’t even and requisites to continue being loved by God. I can work on worrying less, panicking less, being less neurotic, less stubborn, less selfish, less cynical, less of a smart-ass, but even if I screw up my ambitions and embody all those undesirable things in one afternoon or even one hour, God still loves me. Should I abandon all faith only to find it in a pig-sty and come crawling back to God, I will still be embraced as one of God’s chosen children, unconditionally loved.
I’ve learned that I need to love others. Not my favorite lesson on love, for sure, but an important one nonetheless. More times than I have fingers, toes, teeth or freckles, I am instructed by God to take care of the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, to take care of the widow, the orphan. To feed the stranger, visit the imprisoned, clothe the naked, care for the neglected. I’m instructed to love my friends even when they require my forgiveness 7 times 70 times over. And I’m instructed to love my enemies who may never relinquish their hate or repent of their anger. I’ve learned from Jesus that I need to love others.
I’ve learned from Jesus that love is not to be abused. Love is confusing, delicate, a precious pearl to be treasured. Love should never de-humanize anyone. Love never views people as objects or sins or stepping stones or anything other than what they are, delicate children of God. The ultimate Love does not abuse or view us in this way, neither are we to abuse or judge others.
I’ve learned from God that love is diligent, love perseveres and love never relents. Love is something that we must work hard to do. Love is easily offered by God, but often difficult to believe by us. Just as God perseveres in loving us as a people, as God’s children, so must we continually remind ourselves to love, love, love others.
Love is cyclical. When we love God, it becomes easier to love each other. When we love each other, it becomes easier to see God. Love is not easy or cheap. It is not fickle or optional. Love is. God is love. I am who I am said God. Love me and love each other.
So maybe love is a very splendid thing, maybe love actually does lift us up where we belong. Maybe, truly, all we need is love. Everybody now.