monastic reflections: 1 John 4:7

Recently, I came across an author who was struggling with life and fought desperately against the idea of a god existing. His theology, however, was rather frustrating because he seeks to deny a higher power, while holding onto the concept of Love. He denies god’s existence because he feels that spirituality is used as medicine or an addiction by people to avoid real pain, their own faults and their own troubles. If he had merely said that, I could let him slide, because in some cases that is true. But after denying god’s existence so that he can have control over his own life’s mistakes, he acknowledges that he believes in Love.
By believing in something, even an idea such as Love, he is admitting that there is something higher/greater than himself, something he cannot control, an ephemeral force that pulls people into relationship. Love is a union that binds people to people, people to pets, people to the world. Love appears without warning and shows that there is a magnetic force which unites all things.
Even hate, an opposite of love, shows the connectivity of all things. Right now I hate the Seattle Seahawks, but that is result of my personal connection to the Panthers, who were then connected to the Seahawks in an abysmal and embarrassing game. Hate and Love occur because two things are entwined, united and uncontrollably bound.
Love is a Higher Power, love is the natural order buried within each of us. To believe in love is to believe in an uncontrollable force outside of a human’s power to turn it on or off; To believe in Love is to believe in God.
Love which is controllable, turned on and off, depending on one’s appetite is lust. Lust is selfish, manipulative, self-deserving, forceful, envious, proud, boastful, rude. Love is pure, kind, patient, and self-sacrificing (1 Cor. 13).
Love is an uncontrollable desire to give one’s life for another.

Over break, I read CS Lewis’ Great Divorce and discovered a great chapter where a mother who is in “hell” converses with her brother who is in “heaven” regarding her anger that God would take her son, whom she loved, away from her:

“[God] wanted your merely instinctive love for your child to turn into something better. He wanted you to love Michael as He understands love. You cannot love a fellow-creature fully till you love God. Sometimes this conversation can be done while the instinctive love is still gratified. But there was, it seems, no chance of that in your case. The instinct was uncontrolled and fierce and monomaniac. The only remedy was to take away its object. It was a case for surgery. When that first kind of love was thwarted, then there was just a chance that in the loneliness, in the silence something else may begin to grow.” page 100

Love is letting go, loving is giving up control, love is listening and feeling the magnetic pull of relationships both to others and to Love, Himself.
That is the point of the cross, not become an addictive balm but a revelation that God Loves humanity and is a self-sacrificing deity uniting all things in Love to himself.

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