Sunday, August 21, 2011

"All You Need is Love! Really?!"

What does it mean to love someone? No, seriously, what does love really look like? What does it mean to love as Christ loved us? Is that even possible?
Too often, I think we are grossly confused about love. We mistake human appetite for love, whether it's for chocolate, a medium-rare rib eye, or sex, we focus on how something or someone makes us feel and then evaluate whether or not that is love. In that aspect, love is a purely human and purely selfish reaction to the stimulus of the world around us. Surely love means more than just the reaction of our appetite or our libido?
Sometimes, I think we feel like love means we have to accept, overlook, even endorse harmful and dangerous behavior from others.  I don't know how many times I have heard, "Well, we have to love them anyway."  What does that mean? If someone we know is caught up in self-destructive behavior to stand aside with some anemic spiritual shrug, regurgitating some well worn platitude can't be all there is to love.
Seriously, there must be more - please there has to be more!
When I look at Jesus I see love and it is so intricate and faceted that it is almost beyond description. Here are just a few examples:
  • He turns water into wine to please his mother and avert an embarrassing situation for a bride's parents.
  • He made children the center of so many of his examples of how to follow him with simple joy and childlike whimsy.
  • He put himself between selfish, bigoted religious folk and a broken woman, so that she knew that, at last, someone cared for her.
  • He harshly, caustically criticized Peter for his petulance when He just told them He was going to die for them.
  • And, most importantly he crawled onto a cross and let love pierce his hands and feet and side and died as the ultimate example of love.
Somehow I think you and I need to re-evaluate what love means. It is more than just fulfilling our desires. It is more than finding affinity with those most like us. It is more than just ignoring the pain of others and the pain their pain inflicts on others.
Love is a radical thing! It is a dangerous thing! It is a simple thing! But it is a thing that will change everything!

Ah, so you see, "All You Need Is Love!"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"A (not so) Long Strange Trip It's Been!

Pam and I took a rather interesting vacation a few days ago. Interesting because we were going somewhere new in places in which things were very familiar. First, we went to Eureka Springs for a quiet couple of days to celebrate our 29th Anniversary. Shhh, don't tell Pam Eureka Springs is a mecca for all things culturally liberal - it'll just mess up the experience for her!

Then, we went to visit my parents in their NEW home. Have your parents moved since you moved out of the house?  Am I the only one who found it really weird! When Kaitlyn heard that her Grandparents were moving she exclaimed, "They can't move that's Grandpa and Grandma's house!" However, in spite of my disquiet, mom and dad are more relaxed and at ease then they have been in years.  My sister is very nearby and she is having a ball 'playing' with our folks!

Next, we spent a few days hanging out with Pam's folks and helping them paint their new house -  what's with these 70 and 80 something's and new houses? My father in law and I have had our disagreements over the years, but we had a great time working, sweating, painting, sweating, eating, oh and did I say sweating?

Then, we went to my 30th High School Reunion (Ok, quit laughing at me!).  I was not sure what to expect and Pam confessed later that she was afraid she would be left out, but we had an absolute blast. There was a reason High School was so much fun.  It was the people!  Our class was loud, gregarious, mischievous, rebellious, and protective.  I would have never thought some would have grown to be the men and women they are today. And I think many of them were surprised that I am quite normal these days.

On Sunday of the week away, we had a great opportunity to worship together with my oldest (well she is!) sister.  Her church is trying to reach their culture there in the Tulsa area in a different way and seems to be having some real impact.  I have never been able to worship with my sister at her church in all of my 48 years. It was a true joy to stand beside her, sing with her, praise God together with her and celebrate our Lord together - thanks Sis!

Then, we made the trip back home. Home - hmmm, while the time away was great, returning home was even better. For the first time in a long time, I really looked forward to getting back home, back to work, back to the fellowship of fellow strange ones at The Harbor! 

And all this reminded me of Jerry's words, "What a long strange trip it's been!"  Amen.