THIS WEEK –LOVE
Love – A state of feeling with regard to a person which manifests itself in concern for the person’s welfare, pleasure in his or her presents and often also a desire for his or her approval.
Four Types of Love
Today, love is overused and undervalued at the same time. We love everything from various foods to cars, from movies to retailers, from people to God himself. We may not consciously distinguish one use of love from another in part because our speech is becoming more and more informal, but it is important to be intentional about the differences. As we know, Scripture tells us that love is the highest attribute. So, let’s look at the four types of love found in the Bible that Lewis helps to draw out in The Four Loves, published in 1960.
I Corinthians 13:1-3 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
This type of love covers a lot of different circumstances of love. All mothers, human and otherwise, possess a natural affection toward their offspring. Affection intermingles in many of our relationships. We are kindly affectioned toward our spouses and our coworkers. Affection walks in step with the other loves and often is an outgrowth of another. It is not possible to maintain a romantic or friendship love with someone and never feel some level of affection towards them. Affection for the people around us on a daily basis is very natural.
Friendship love is often dismissed by our culture. “To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves,” says Lewis, “the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it.” Why is that so? Perhaps it is because true friendship is time consuming and rarely celebrated. Romance leads to conception and families, Affection makes us feel accepted and cared for, and charity (God love) leads to redemption. We develop this love when we spend quality time with people who mean a great deal to us.
Lewis says that romantic lovers are absorbed with each other. One thinks that the absence of the other means the end of their lives. The romantic bond of two people is the most fulfilling love that you can experience. Lewis says, “The event of falling in love is of such a nature that we are right to reject as intolerable the idea that it should be transitory.” This type makes us whole. The bond between two people in marriage has been celebrated from Genesis onward and is a picture of God’s love towards us. This love is far greater than the drivel that is promoted by our culture.
Charity (agape) -God’s Love
This is the chief aim of our lives – to be loved by God, to love him and to share that love with the world. The other three loves, according to Lewis, are training ground for the love of God to grow. We are created to love and desire to be loved. We must lay ourselves out, just as Jesus did, and take the chance that we will be rejected. It is in that rejection that we come to understand the love of God. His love is ultimately shown by His death on the cross.
There is no safe investment. All love is costly, perilous, and risky. To love is to be vulnerable and exposed. Love anything and your heart will be taxed and possibly broken. If you want to be safe you must give yourself to no one, not even an animal. You can wrap yourself safely in the things you do, the fun you experience and work you pursue. Doing this is almost like placing yourself in a coffin of selfishness. You will never be broken hearted, because you have developed a heart of stone. If we protect ourselves by never loving, do we know and experience the love of God?
When we give ourselves and our children to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and promise to make disciples of all nations, we are committing to love in every way.
Let us ask God to awaken such an abandoned and reckless love to come alive in us.
~~~Thérèse of Lisieux
One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.
The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one is loved.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
~~~Martin Luther King Jr.
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.
~~~Alfred Lord Tennyson
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.
We love the things we love for what they are.
The spiritual meaning of love is measured by what it can do. Love is meant to heal. Love is meant to renew. Love is meant to bring us closer to God.
To see the universal and all pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.
Your giving and searching for ways to give is love in action. This is the evidence of Spirit at work.
~~~Marshall Vian Summers
You can never love another person unless you are equally involved in the beautiful but difficult spiritual work of learning to love yourself.
~~~1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
~~~1 John 4:12
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
will find life and honor.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
When I thought, ‘My foot is slipping’,
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
~~~ Psalm 94:18
Lord, Help me to be able to love in all the ways that you have revealed to me. Give me the courage and understanding to learn to love and be loved in risky and outlandish ways. Give me the opportunity to share God’s love with others today, not simply a love that saves but a love that sustains and guides every day. Our world is crying for love that only you can give.