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All You Need is Love

By the Rev. James D. Findlay

James FindlayHaving recently experienced the Easter Holy Day, with its celebration of New Life and its resonance with deep and ancient Earth renewal festivals, we now live our way through the path of Easter as a Season.  As the Earth spins daily on its axis and makes its yearly journey around our sun-star, we experience even longer days and brighter energy, and the plants about us expand into richer growth (despite our crisis-level water shortage!).  Our faith experience has the chance to grow as well, as the Sacred Time between Easter and Pentecost unfolds, and the Scripture texts set out for us in the Ecumenical Lectionary help to guide our thoughts, prayers, and meditations.  And in contemplating them, the thread which connects the time and the texts which mark it, is Divine Love.

The Gospel texts begin with two post-Resurrection appearances.  One is the questions and dialogue which Thomas has with the Risen Jesus; the other is from Luke 24, when Jesus appears to all the disciples after revealing himself to a small group on the Road to Emmaus.  In each of these encounters, Jesus answers all the disciples’ questions and needs, and offers surprising, unexpected, and sacred sharing of his Presence, which is Love.  In John 10, Jesus speaks of himself as the Good Shepherd, who calls and loves his own, gives his life for all, and is an exemplar of God’s Love.  In John 15, Jesus speaks of the vine and the branches, and the most important commandment: to love as he has loved.  Thus, as we savor the Good News of the Easter season, we taste of what its appearance as Gospel text makes clear: the Christ reality in our lives and the lives of our faith communities and the world, is Love.

The texts from Acts in these weeks following the Resurrection describe the actualization of Love in the early communities of believers: the sharing of possessions and property, the elimination of poverty, and just distribution of resources (Acts 4:32-35); a sermon about the healing power of Jesus’ name and the power of being witnesses to the raising of Jesus from the dead (3:12-19); the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the boldness of speaking about Jesus to Temple authorities (4:5-12); the conversation between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, in which the Spirit builds community and communication between persons and cultures (8:26-40); and the baptism of Gentiles by water and the Holy Spirit, which amazes those who thought circumcision gave them a “faith advantage” (10:44-48).  Throughout these narratives, Love takes collective form and issues forth in justice, as individuals witness to its power and presence.

Finally, a series of readings from 1 John make this clearest of all.  God is Light, and brings us into  awareness of our own limitation and the need for honest confession (1 John 1:1-2:2); we are now called children of God because of God’s love for us, and we will become even more like the divine nature which has claimed us ( 1 John 3:1-7); that love is made real both within us and in our love shared with each other (3:16-24); that God’s very nature is love, which casts our all fear and makes us into loving people (4:7-21); and, in 1 John 5:1-6, that love and faith in God are deeply intertwined, that we are born of God’s love, and our faith becomes powerful through practicing it.

Love is the fruit of faith in God, in this Easter Season and always.  May our times of prayer, service, spiritual attentiveness, contemplation, and action be steeped in love.  May we contemplate love; grow in love; savor divine love; celebrate love in solitude and community; and live love each day of this joyous time.
Note from author: Please feel free to contact me via e-mail at sleight_of_time@yahoo.com.  I wish to engender a conversation among us about how the Word and Spirit are active in our lives, and how we might nurture these gifts further. I also am happy to work with groups and individuals on how to nurture the Word and Spirit among us. Please visit my Facebook Page at   www.facebook.com/pages/Spiritual-Accompaniment-Services/219750211459838  as another way of being in this sacred conversation. I look forward to hearing from many of you soon!

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