Is God Love?
I was thinking about the phrase "God is love," which was employed by the author of 1 John in the New Testament, and naturally, I also began thinking about all the movies I could name with the word "love" in their title.
This is how my mind works.
Here are a few of the ones that came to mind:
Eat, Pray, Love
Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
Love and Other Drugs
Shakespeare In Love
P.S. I Love You
What's Love Got To Do With It?
There were more, but if I listed all the ones I could think of, I'd just be showing off. #humblebrag
Seriously, the topic of love dominates storytelling, specifically in film, but also in song. If you can create a great love story, you might have a bestseller or, at the very least, a reasonably good movie to sell.
And if you can write a great love song, well... that lasts forever, it seems.
Why are we so obsessed with love and love stories? What is it about the idea of love that captivates our imagination? Even the most jaded among us find ourselves weeping at moments in movies where two people finally come to terms with their deep feelings toward one another, even if it's too late.
Sometimes, the tragic love stories capture us even more firmly than the ones that end with two people holding hands and walking off into the sunset.
These stories tap into our concerns, expectations about love, and how we view ourselves. We know what heartache feels like. We also know what it feels like to wonder if we can ever truly be loved in all our brokenness.
This is where my wandering mind took me, and then again to "God is love." If God truly is love, as the Scriptures declare, then it is plausible for most of us to wonder if (no matter how we try to speak of it in religious tones) there is a limit to God's love.
After all, if we experience love as fickle, fleeting, and dependent on whether we measure up or not, it's natural for us to question the love of God for us.
But the thing about Divine love is that it looks beyond all of our pretense, the brave faces we put on, the moments when we are our best selves, and sees us in our weakness, brokenness, and frailty and loves still.
Author Ilia Delio recently wrote:
I think our greatest fear is our deepest desire: to love and to be loved. We long to be for another and to give ourselves nobly to another, but we fear the cost of love. Deep within we yearn for wholeness in love, but to become more whole in love we must accept our weaknesses and transcend our limits of separation in order to unite in love.
Divine love accepts our weaknesses and transcends the limits of our separation between God's reality and our own. God is constantly reaching out to us even as we try to pull ourselves away when we feel unworthy.
And in our relationships with others, when we learn to love the weaknesses of our beloveds and not just the strengths, when we find wholeness by seeing one another wholly, we tap into that Divine love and be a witness to God's love for the world.
The same author who penned "God is love" also said that those who love are of God. And that we demonstrate the love of God when we love one another.
May we all learn what it means to find wholeness in love by seeing and loving one another wholly as God loves. May we discover new reservoirs of love within us, inspired by the never-ending, always-seeking love of a loving God who became one of us to rescue all of us.
May it be so. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.