Our faith community is spending much of Lent praying as one, taking stock of our journey with God in a Jesus way. This fifth week, our focus is:
Love is a word that is used so much, it almost means nothing. In the last hour, it's been said or written or texted or blogged or tweeted billions of times. We say it in relation to people, to things, to places, to ideas. There is peanut butter that I proclaim my love for just as quickly as I say I love a friend.
Most of the time, love costs me absolutely nothing - it's noise in a empty room, echoing down the hall like dropped keys. When I look in my daughters' eyes, love tugs at me and changes me, more like the image I was made in. When Lisa & I move together in love, there is something more than just us, more than the feelings we hold and the things we know.
Loving as God loves - a God who is love. The Triune God, who moves together in love, who beckons us to literally make love, to create in love.
That is something that means something, that costs something, that leaves us changed and yearning. One of my fav singer-songwriters Sandra McCracken gets at this mystery of love in the lyrics of her song Storehouse:
The more than you lose of yourself the more you find
Take me out of myself, and into
The Clothes of royalty
love has taken me...
There is this kind of backwards rhyme in communities that gather in faith and doubt, that gather to practice and remember. While it runs counter to the zero sum world we make to distract ourselves, there is so much truth in the Great Economy that tells us that the more we lose, the more we find.
When I look at our faith community in the context of this kind of love, loving as God loves, I am struck that this love is not what binds us together, but rather something that we hand over, confounding the modern ideas of boundaries and rules of affection & protection. We love those that hurt us and those we hurt, the crazies, the criminals, the stock broken and real estate broker. That love messes us up, it takes us out of myself, into our selves. We are clothed as royalty, all dressed up from a banquet we were invited to after the better folks turned down the invite.
In the masterwork The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe , there is a great scene when the Pevensie kids enter another world. Love has taken them, transformed them, clothed them as royalty - so much so that they are oddities in a kingdom of talking animals. I love this simple dialogue:
Lucy Pevensie: Maybe they think you look funny.
That is what love does - it makes up look funny.