Love has a meaning; but it has no meaning as an abstract inside thought. When its stretched outside of you, then it means something, then its Love – and the further its stretched the bigger the love.
God doesn’t simply have an actless thought for us, He has real Love. Love in a sunset, love in nature at every scale, love from the cross – expressing exactly his love: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”.
But what about us loving back? I don’t want to have an abstract empty thought for God, I want to have love. And theres even a commandment which starts: Love the Lord your God. Don Francisco writes ‘love is not a feeling its an act of your will’. That feeling makes you willing, but it shouldn’t just make you willing. Paul Heaton writes ‘don’t do what you can, just say that you would…as long as it makes you feel good’ (satirical reference to treatment of the poor) and this is the opposite of that.
And what about sharing God , not keeping Him inside? It says ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:16). Whether someone believes they must share God to save someone from going to hell, or whether someone believes they must share God because He has forgiven everyone and given up everything to fight off their sins – either way, I think, its designed to be anything but a locked up thought inside, a private personal point. And I think thats wonderful…
And then theres Abraham praying in Genesis 18. He recognises God’s justice and love – and doing that in a small way leaves me both overwhelmed and confused. He intercedes for Sodom (intercession is a place beyond loves joy) and subsequently at least Lot, Lot’s family and the village of Zoar are saved. But I think intercession often comes out of trying to wrestle with the juxtapositin of God’s justice and the heartbreak of burden. Things can start to feel like they dont make sense (bereavement, or just wishing other folk could see how amazing it is to ‘know’ God as a person and not just as a word, surely the point of Jesus coming as a person), or aren’t fair, or safe .
And that is ok because unconditional love doesn’t make sense. It’s not supposed to fit with anything, not least how life is. At least it wont make sense in words alone because its not just words anymore, its love; someones self to God relationship with.
so im just loving that God is love is what I’m trying to say
Don’t worry I’m not in teen angst.
This summer I have seen miracles – seen arms that couldn’t move, move. Seen deaf ears healed. Seen my heart opened to a wider, bigger, closer, more beautiful version of justice and social action. Seen and forgotten and remembered powerful experiences of God, being unashamedly real.
This Summer, also, I’ve fallen off the political breakfast table and would have probably left the labour party if I knew how. Basically I want for a world where human life tramples gold, and if you imagine a reality of just that one sentence in practice it quite literally turns everything I believed in, regards politics, totally on its head. Bits of me extreme left, bits of me extreme right, but the vast majority, nowhere on earth. And I want to see more of this.
This Summer the big saga, pickle and drama has been the flat situation. It is now resolved. The truth is now that although I’m definitely positive about the PhD, I am still oh so chaotically nervous and stressed about next year for lots of reasons (I feel like a first year might feel moving into halls). But if Summer says anything, it says to trust, and if Christian says anything it should be ‘Yes Lord’.
For someone I know, who suspects its them. Maybe I will never say ‘will you let me help you?’ but I am always there if you do.
Quick greek lesson:
Phileo – friendship love
Agape – commitment love
Eros – romantic love
Sun steps slowly through the clouds…Windows watching.
The wind washes kiss across your face. Its morning. Nature meets you on a porch, with flowers and a sparrow. You welcome it in, with broken heart and half remembered smile. As night time slowly leaves you, stop to cry. As morning arms embrace you, do nothing and trust.
Lying down you feel the long grass cold and wet, feel the shine in your face, smell the peat and the hint of an easy life. You catch yourself smiling again, then thinking of people. Michael, Sarah, Kate and him again.
‘Whats the point?’ asks the lover in your heart. ‘There is no escape.’
Phileo in your heart, phileo in your blood.
Ripping grass out between your fingers, clawing your nails on a life indestructible.
You’re angry at me and you’re angry at God. You feel like noone can help you. Noone can. So you sit, hungry, crushing daisies in your thumbs whilst happy people try to help.
But you still remember don’t you? That’s why you sit by the flagpole remembering names, waiting for the truth, waiting for mercy, retribution, a song. You’re waiting for someone who can save you, or never let you go. You don’t love Him but you need Him.
Agape hold on you. Never let you go.
This is sunrise, hill and flag. Long nights spent here praying, for your future and your friends. This place is water in your tears, when you’ve tried to leave. Praying now is harder, quieter, but parts of you still say trust, as the sun hides behind the clouds those parts say feel the rain, feel new. As evening is coming, light vanishes but the way still seems clear. Desire starts to guide you like eros in thought.
You know I have been here, just like you. Sobbing pain not so different, sickness not so different. So I pretend I understand, but the truth is that I don’t. You see, somewhere in recovery I forgot. I spent years searching for an answer, gazed up at clouds, clawed through wormholes – I think I found an answer but I forget what it was.
Ach, the paper’s tangling in my hands.
Any time you want to turn around and look at me I’m here.
I have felt the same. Felt the knife inside turning like the hands on a clock, felt the pain of just surviving. No hope, no help, nothing in the world to stop you from falling. Crying out, year on year, you expected there would be an answer. I’m sorry but I found the answer. Heard something. It made me forget the pain, so I’m useless to you now, though with all my heart I’d try to help you.
So all you have is questions.
Why is this happening to me? Why? Where is He?
All you have is teeming farms and forest, you sit on nature next to rivers and set down fields. You’re lying by the river bed and waiting. You’re holding out your hands and nearly asking. I’m sorry. I love you. I’m sorry. I hurt you.