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Wednesday Wondering - May 15, 2024

Scripture

Song of Solomon 8: 6 - 7

6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,    as a seal upon your arm,for love is strong as death,    passion fierce as the grave.Its flashes are flashes of fire,    a raging flame.

7 Many waters cannot quench love,    neither can floods drown it.If one offered for love    all the wealth of one’s house,    it would be utterly scorned.


1John 4: 16

16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.


Reflection

I have been wondering a lot lately about love and how what does it mean to love in today’s world. I wonder if many times when we think of love, we think of the romantic type of love that is found in those Hallmark movies that I love so much. Or oftentimes we transfer this idea of love to things that we, in all honesty, we don’t really ‘love.’ I always would say that I “love” roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, but the reality is that I just enjoy eating it. We love sports, we love food, we love activities, we love a lot of things in our lives, but how do we actually understand love in this world and what does it mean to love. The scriptures I picked speak to a love that is deeper than that which we have been speaking of so far. It speaks to a love that is sealed upon one’s heart. It speaks to a love that burns and rages, again I don’t think that this is a romantic type of love, but rather a love that goes beyond the superficial, it is a love that impacts our entire being. It is also a love that is reflective of the love that God has for us. This is a love that crosses boundaries, it is a love that is expansive and broad, not narrow and selective. The love that God has for us speaks to a sense of inherent worthiness to be loved. This is a love that, as we might have heard before, will not let us go.


We often simplify love to the physical attraction between people, but love is much more than that because if we understand love to be a reflection of God’s love for us, then it has to be larger. Author A. R. Lucas has said, “We’ve been infected with this idea that love is an emotion only felt between two people. But love is universal. An energy. A contagious force. A gift. To offer money to a homeless man is to love. To save a worm from the sun is to love. To smile at a stranger is to love. To be grateful, to be hopeful, to be brave, to be forgiving, to be proud is to love.” Love is so much more than just the affection that we have for another person. This is why when we read the passage from 1Corinthians 13, that love, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” it begins to make sense that love has to be a force that is greater than what we believe.


Yet, the reality is that we live in a world where love has devolved to those nice feelings we have for others. We also live in a world where it can be increasingly difficult to love. It is a harsh world and a world that is filled with so much anxiety, anger, hatred, and violence. I wonder how is one supposed to love in a world such as ours. My mother has always said that love is not just something that happens, it is a decision that we make each and every day. She says that it is important for us to begin each day making the decision to love that day. Some might say that this is wishful thinking, given the state of our world, but I believe that there is actually some wisdom in what she believes. It can be so easy in today’s world to become cynical, to become hard-hearted at the state of the world. Author and chaplain Laura Jean Truman, offers this, “Keep my anger from becoming meanness. Keep my sorrow from collapsing into self-pity. Keep my heart soft enough to keep breaking. Keep my anger turned towards justice, not cruelty. Remind me that all of this, every bit of it, is for love. Keep me fiercely kind.” Yes, this world is difficult and a harsh place to live, we all recognize that, but it is okay for us to be sad, to be angry, to be confused, but in the midst of all of that if we make the decision to keep loving, we make the decision that keeps our hearts soft. Yes, when we do this we risk our hearts breaking, but I wonder if that is not better than the alternative. The alternative, which is to have our hearts harden such that we don’t feel anymore.


To love is to choose the path that might be difficult but it is the path that brings us closer to God. It is the path that brings us closer to each other, closer to creation, closer to ourselves. In loving, we see that all are are worthy of love, including ourselves, and that might just be the greatest challenge of all. But it is something that I believe is worth it. So in a world where love might be scarce, let us love, because God loves us.


Prayer

God of infinite love, help us to love as you love. Give us the courage to know that in loving we risk our heart breaking, but we also know that if we don’t love we may become hard and cynical. Give us the wisdom to know that the love you offer, the love you call us to give, is much  more than the love the world understands. Help us to offer a love that is expansive, a love that is deep, and true. A love that reflects that love that you have for us. We ask this in the name of one who came to show us the way, your son, Jesus. Amen.

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