Friday, October 10, 2008

What if Love is IT?

In my recent post, I mentioned that I have not spent a lot of time in the scriptures of late. However, while reading Lectio Divina” I find that I am drawn to read more from the Bible and I am really o.k. with it. (Shudder shudder…I hear as I imagine some of my readers thinking ‘ how could you NOT be ok with it?) I shall explain just a bit here ☺. For those of you who do not know me well or may be new to this site, I will mention that Christianity is the source of my introduction to God. What a statement?!?!? “The source of my introduction to God.” While I do not want to attempt a discourse on my religious path at this specific time, suffice it to say that having been brought up and then married into a predominantly “fundamental” environment and subsequently adopting a more “broad view” of life, I continue my personal journey of discovery and wrestling with what does it mean to love God?

So, where am I going with this? Pondering why I have stayed away from Scripture, I came to realize that the exclusionary voices of fire and brimstone are associated with the Bible of my past and really like to creep into the present! “If you don’t believe in Jesus you are going to hell! Jesus is the ONLY way! You must confess your sins or die!” These words speak of harsh judgment. Judgment breeds judgment. I get Jesus and I don’t. I get heaven and I don’t. I want rest and peace and love for the world. I believe that Jesus is love. So, what if that is true? What if Jesus and God and Buddha and fill in your own personal favorite are LOVE? Period. Love. That’s it. Wouldn’t that be enough to change the world? What if LOVE is the ONLY way?

If we could truly come from a place of love instead of fear, would it be enough to change the world? What if we bring ourselves and do our best each day. Accepting rather than expecting—not in a wishy-washy, no responsibility kind of way. What if we take responsibility for ourselves and call each other to a higher place in love—pure love, not fear-based love. Not the condemning, you have to do this or that or you’re going to hell kind of “love”. What if Jesus is love? Period. What if “the thing for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” is love? That “thing” could change the world.

So, that’s where my heart is right now. It may sound simplistic or sacrilegious or like I have lost my mind, but I challenge you to give this a try: See what happens when you insert the word Love in place of “Christ & it.” What if LOVE is it?

“Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12

13 comments:

Country Parson (Steven Woolley) said...

I have spent a lot of time working with recovering fundamentalists, and it's difficult work for them to overcome the horrendous teaching that was inflicted on them, and they are reminded of it through all kinds of television preaching. Jesus said to love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself, on these two commandments hang everything else scripture has to say. He added that our own work is to learn to love as he loved us. That's really hard work, and there is no room in it for fear or damnation. I can teach it better than I can do it, so in my case it's a matter of listen to what I say but don't follow where I go.
CP

Sunrise Sister said...

Dang, CP beat me to the comments and I was just going to say exactly what he did - or maybe almost:)

I have no issue with exchanging the word love for Jesus Christ or for the word it.

However, just exchanging the word Love for God/JC/It....I don't believe that love stands on its own without the underlying knowledge of the Gift Giver's identity. (I, persoally, can accept God as the giver.) God's identity may be revealed to others than me with a totally different Holy name than God or Jesus Christ - but the gift of love remains a gift - perhaps the end all, be all answer to everything wonderful,heavenly along with the antidote to all evil and corruptness in the world.

I also believe God presents or chooses to be present to all peoples in the titles that they find acceptable through their inheritance of a being greater than themselves - love, presented from their knowledge of the One greater than themselves, remains a gift.

I have wrestled with God's presence in the world with questioning sentences beginning with where, when, always, sometimes? I generally conclude with the answer being "always." Suggesting that if I believe God is always in the world then I believe the gift of Love is also here always. The tricky part of a gift is that it must be accepted to be useful to one's self.

Sorrow said...

"what would Love do?"
:)

Sue said...

Totally tracking with you, Lucy. Funny, I feel like I am gearing up to return to reading more of the Scriptures. I miss them. I keep coming across people who are returning to reading them after enforced layoffs. It's lovely to see - both the layoffs and the returning, because both are grace experiences methinks

Country Parson (Steven Woolley) said...

So all you bible readers - anyone who wants one can have a copy of my study guide "Bible Basics for Adults." It's been around for about ten years now and gets revised regularly. Just drop me a private e-mail.
CP

Country Parson (Steven Woolley) said...

By the way, since all of you are poets may I suggest the Holy Sonnets of John Donne.

Kate I said...

Yes, I believe it's really that simple...love really is what it's all about and love is really all there is. There may be many paths to love but they all end up there eventually.

Barbara said...

Thank you for sharing that quote from Philippians. It is very full and I shall mull over it for a while.
The way (and others above) see it, it is all about love, God's love, God's seduction of humankind down through the ages in the face of an unbelieving, untrusting, unaccepting people -- us. Once we can well and truly "buy into" that love, we see everything in terms of that love. All is well and all manner of things are well.

lucy said...

CP--you might be interested to know that the two verses that i hold very dear to my heart are the one you quoted (love God, neighbors, self) and "be still and know that i am God." yes, learning to love is what it's all about and it is not always easy that's for sure!

also, thanks for the reading offerings!

SS--i believe you added a quite nice addition to CP's statements :-)

tagging along to his verse, i think sometimes the biggest challenge is to receive the gift for ourselves (which i think is what you were saying...)

sorrow--big smile...thanks for stopping by!

sue--grace is good stuff. maybe we can have a little online Bible study...or not...

kate--i love your phrase "many paths to love." i absolutely agree! and my hope is that we will all end up there eventually.

barbara--thank you! the "buying in" seems related to SS's receiving of the gift, doesn't it?


i so appreciate all of your thoughtful and insightful responses. i love these conversations!!! peace.

storyteller said...

This so ‘resonates’ with my own understanding! Thanks …
Hugs and blessings,

lucy said...

glad to see you, storyteller!

btw, ALL--i highly recommend christine paintner's new book, lectio divina (if you hadn't already figured that out). it is offering me a beautiful approach to viewing the scriptures again.

Tess said...

Coming a little late to this, I share (as you know) your reluctance with some of the scriptures. You put all this so well, and I think yes, you can put Love in the place of Christ.
By the way, reading the comments, I was first slightly amused and then horrified by CP's phrase 'recovering fundamentalists'. Not the phrase itself, you understand, but that it is needed to allow people to recover from a religion that should be Love. Just never heard this phrase.

lucy said...

tess--unfortunately the term "recovering fill-in-the-blank" (Christian, Catholic, Fundamentalist) is one i run into quite often particularly at the grad school. i must admit, however, that it always takes me back a bit myself (horrified) when i hear it and witness the devastating effects of "love"?!??!??!??!!