What is “Love”? How do we do it? … Sunday, April 28

God, the Father watches us all everywhere.

God, the Father, watches us all everywhere. And that’s because God is Love. What are WE?

Gospel John 13:31-33a, 34-35

      ~ When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~
     The two greatest commandments, the two upon which all the others rest, are to love God first of all and to love our neighbor as our self. Time after time we’re told, no, we’re commanded, to love. To the best of my knowledge we are never told, or commanded, to “like”. And there’s a big difference between the two, and that’s why one is commanded and the other isn’t even suggested.
     “Like” is an emotional response. I can’t always control my emotional reactions, nor can anyone else. God knows this. He could command me to like buttermilk. It won’t happen, and I can’t help that I don’t like it. I don’t like it so much that I had one gulp from one glass of it and that turned into a lifetime supply. But I am commanded to love. Which tells me that unlike “like” “love” isn’t an uncontrollable emotional response but an act of the will, which is something I do have control over.
     A good working definition of love, and I think a good theological definition as well, would be this: “To honestly want what’s best for another and to be willing to help bring that about if its appropriate for me to do so.” To honestly want whats best for someone, especially a person we don’t like, takes a definite act of will. To be willing to help bring it, the good, about presupposes that we know what that good is. And the appropriateness of it all, whether it needs to be me helping or someone else (Example: I may know what the good is in any particular situation, but that doesn’t mean I know how to help bring it about.), is a matter of honest discretion.
     All of this begs a question that in turn brings us back to the new commandment given us by Him. How, when you think about the definition of love just explained, can we love God? How do you want what’s best for a Being Who IS the Best?! How do you work to better One that has all power and no need? And the answer is two-fold. The first part of the answer is that you can’t. The second part is that you can. By proxy.
     Jesus, when He asked Peter three times “Do you love me?”, with Peter answering yes all three times, replied every time to Peter’s “Yes” that Peter should feed His sheep (us). The sheep have needs, the Shepherd (Jesus) doesn’t. We love God by loving, and serving, one another. Even the others we don’t like.
     That new commandment? It tells us, again by proxy, how to love God. Jesus said that if we love Him we’ll keep His commandments. And this is His commandment, that we love each other, even the unlovables,  as He loves us. Us, who given our sinful and unworthy state should be considered unlovable. He never commands us to do something He wouldn’t or hasn’t already done Himself. Which is what makes Him our example in all things.
     Let us “go and do likewise.”
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Published in: on April 28, 2013 at 5:03 am  Comments Off on What is “Love”? How do we do it? … Sunday, April 28  
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