Saturday, June 19, 2004

more on love

Love seems to be a topic people like to talk about and have their own opinions about. Because of these things and because I am reading a book that has a romantic sub-plot, I will continue the adventure into the conversation on love.

The book I am reading is called the Alchemist. A young shepherd boy from Spain goes on an adventure to find treasure near the Pyramids of Egypt. While on the journey he finds love in the form of a bedouin girl who lives in an oasis village. All along his journey he tries to read the omens that will direct his path. His confidence in these omens rests in the belief that they come from God.

This all got me thinking a bit more about love. I wonder about the love of God. God is a good place to start when discussing love, I have found. He is the source of all of our love. He is love. So why does God love us? Does he have a good reason? Well, we are his creation. I seem to like things that I create. I might even love something I create that is of great value. So I could rest my hat on the idea that God loves us because we are his creation, his children.

Growing up protestant, I have been bludgeoned with the truth that we can not earn God's love. No action of my own will make God love me any more or less,... so I have been told. But I have never really heard anyone venture into explaining the love of God. Sure it is unexplainable, just as God is. But there are some things we can know of God, so there must be some things we can know of his love.

In the Alchemist, the shepherd boy's lover tells him this just before he leaves the oasis, "One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving." It got me thinking about reasons for loving. Did God have a good reason to love us? It seems that he did. We are his creation. And yet, it is possible for me to not love that which I create. Many parents neglect their kids. Many artists hate their own work. So its possible for us, as co-creators with God, to not love our own creations. Is it possible that God could have not loved his own creation? Not likely. God is love. But for me it opens the door for the possibility that God loves us for no reason at all. We certainly give him reasons not to love us. Our continuous sin should be more than enough reason not to love us. Yet he does.

If anyone could love without reason it is God. We frail humans need reasons to love. Even if those reasons don't come from the person in which we are loving, we are still called to love because God first loved us. That is our primary reason for loving everyone. We love them because God loves them and loves us. So we have a reason. And a really good reason to love. But God certainly didn't command us to love romantically. So where does this come from?

We see images in scripture of God and Israel and Christ and the church playing out this romantic love relationship. We learn from Genesis that it is not good for man to be alone. We learn from Paul that if you can avoid getting married then stay single. We learn from the Gospels not to divorce and from Hebrews that the marriage bed should be kept pure. Clearly God loves marriage. He loves its covenant, its sacrifice, its romance, and its daily serving of one another. He loves the picture of two becoming one. Its as if Christ was the sex act of God where two became one,...that is humanity and divinity.

So we have reason to love people. God loves all people. But do we have reason for romance? Reason probably isn't a great word to use here. Romance seems to fit more in the category of which the young lover spoke. "One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving." Loving romantically seems to manifest itself in action and feeling....in doing rather than analyzing, in sensing rather than knowing, in thoughtfulness rather than thinking. And this is why it retains its mystery.

Mystery is grasping at water. It is experienced but cannot be fully contained. Why do we keep asking people "How do you know..." questions about being in love? Love hovers in the places of poetry, not prose. Knowledge seems too cold, too "hospital", too Starbucks for love. Yet love seems to dance in Common Grounds. It seems to nap on old couches that sink down and envelop you.

So I don't know much about love. But I guess its less about knowing love than feeling love. Its less about a reason to love and more about a person to love. And I don't have a person to love romantically, but I guess I will one day. In the mean time, I will do my best to enjoy those in love around me.

4 Comments:

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