Episode 7: Love
I don’t have many ways left of trying to describe the sacred among us.
Human images don’t work all that well for me anymore. We know too much; we know too little. Too much about the expansive universe to believe that some anthropomorphic God with arms and legs and actual body parts moving pieces on a massive chess board makes much sense; too little about the ineffable yet magnificent presence that moves and inspires us to attach too many literal qualities to that mystical presence.
There is one thing, though, I can’t let go of when trying to talk about the sacred: God is love.
What I feel my wife of 31 years holds me is sacred.
What I feel when I hold my 8 month old grandson is sacred.
What I feel when my daughter responds to my telling her I love by saying “I love you more” is sacred.
What I feel when reading the poetry of Emily Dickinson is sacred.
What I feel when gazing upon the stars at night, or watching the sun rise over Lake Erie, or from the mountain heights on a cloudless day – is sacred.
Some strong, powerful, unutterable emotion stirs within me each and every time. Without a better word for any of it – I call it love. And it is sacred.
Jesus has taken to being called by a lot of names and has been given many titles.
Each comes with subtle meanings and roles attached that often reflect some dogmatic belief that may or may not have any actual resemblance who he actually was or what he actually stood for.
For me, I see Jesus as a pathway to love. He teaches me things about the capacity of love to change hearts and lives; challenges me to extend love to others who often escape my attention; asks me to choose love of neighbor over scorn towards an enemy. When I live my life as a disciple of Jesus, I find myself called to do little more than what love requires. There is nothing more sacred to me than that.
In this blessed Holiday season, as you celebrate the gift of God’s love made manifest in the one called Jesus; as you gather with your own loved ones, exchanging gifts and feasting together at table; as you witness once again the lengthening of the days as the light returns – remember what Jesus said was the greatest commandment of all: Love your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.
Fellow traveler, may the joy of this Holiday season rest upon you. May the gaze into your lover’s eyes stir your heart and soul. May your presence on this planet locate you where awe and wonder induce compassion. And may you experience the power of redeeming, transformative love on your journeys into the mystic.