Saturday, March 11, 2017
Yield to Love
Today you are making this agreement with the LORD: he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees, and to hearken to his voice. And today the LORD is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you; and provided you keep all his commandments, he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory above all other nations he has made, and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God, as he promised." Deuteronomy 26:17-19
“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48
In the hallmarks of our culture, we throw around concepts like love and promises without much thought.
“I love that Mac and cheese appetizer.”
“I love that new Etsy site.”
“I love the latest/last Harry Potter book (and finished it in one night).”
“I love that new duplex on North Rampart.”
Yet in our culture, such Hallmark-love is only good until the next Hogwart, house, or hors d'oeuvre. Although our English sense of love is crowded in one limited four-letter word, the Greeks passed on three different words for love. Eros. Philia. Agape.
Eros: love between a woman and a man.
Philia: love between friends and neighbors.
Agape: charitable and sacrificial love that goes beyond self.
Christ takes those concepts and build upon them. It was already a part of Hebrew tradition to love your neighbor as yourself. Yet, it was Jesus who added the extra dimension -- love your enemy as yourself. Love like that Samaritan, not the rabbi running away from the person in need.
While I give the Greeks their due, it was the great Roman poet Virgil who reminds s that all other powers in heaven and on earth appear secondary to love: “Omnia vincit amor”—love conquers all. But let us not forget what he adds to that: “et nos cedamus amori” — "let us, too, yield to love.”
Even though there are these three kinds of love, fundamentally, “love” is a single reality, with different dimensions. Love your God. Love your Neighbor. Love your Enemy. Let us yield to love!