3. Love is to be at the heart of the Lindisfarne Community. “Love your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemies.” The immensity of the task makes it naturally impossible! Yet we are called to be a community of love. We need to remember, it is God’s love, not ours; perfect, eternal, constant. With God’s love there are no strings attached, no conditions to be met, no favoritism. Yet it is not sentimental nor romantic, for love is not merely a feeling, it is an act of will; the “naked intent” of the heart to love God, neighbor and enemy. There is the deepest of all joy in the love of God. We seek to learn to love, to walk in love, to exult in love, to make love our highest aim, to let God’s love fill us completely. Our desire is to be free within the love of our heavenly Father-Mother — to know God’s passionate love for us and to live our lives from within God’s acceptance of us. This love of God is reflected in our love for all, even those who are considered our enemies. It is a reconciling love; a love that seeks peace. It is a love for the whole of creation.
What can I say about this one! I think that it’s pretty much self-explanatory. However, today, so many of us fail in some form or another with doing and being this Understanding. Perhaps we rely too much on our own ideas of love. I’m not sure. I just know that it’s most difficult.
And yet, at the same time, it’s one of the easiest. It’s one of the easiest because this isn’t human love. This isn’t our doing. It’s God in us (2Corinthians 5.10, CEB; John 17.20-23, CEB). We are to be vessels through whom God uses to act in the world (2Corinthians 4.7, NKJV*; 2Timothy 2.20-21, NKJV).
But, what does it mean to love? We aren’t talking about a romantic love or a sexual love. We are talking about a deeper love. A love that goes to the very core of our being. This love is God’s love. It’s a holy love. And God’s Love is a sacrificial love (John 15.13, CEB; 1John 3.16-17, CEB). It is to permeate our entire way of being and doing. It is to saturate our entire existence in this world’s realm. Jesus told the disciples, “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other” (John 13.34-35, CEB). Our identity as followers of Jesus is not beliefism (i.e., the things we believe). Nor is it our orthodoxy (i.e., right or correct doctrine or teaching). Our identity is Love. This is absolutely critical. This lets us know that a follower of Jesus can be of any faith tradition or no faith tradition. If we express God’s love by our intentions, actions, and being, then we are no longer bound by religious beliefism or dogma. We are free to be all that God wants us to be.
And yet, at the same time, this Love, since it’s God’s love, is a very difficult thing. It takes time to learn how to be this Love. It takes time to learn how to live in this Love. It’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. But, it is something we can be and do. It will take strength to be people of Love. It will require a denial of what we want to do and what we think is fair and just. it will require us to face our fears and walk courageously in the midst of those fears. And facing those fears may mean that we take a stand against conventional (orthodox or so-called patriotic) views and be Christ to those around us.
In everyday life, at the deepest levels of who we are, we are to be intentional about the Sermon on the Mount. That is what living this way of Love looks like on a practical, everyday basis. Again, living this way, being this way, will be God’s doing and not ours. But this must be our intention. It must be for what we strive every moment of every day. And may it start with me.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC
* Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.