Thursday, May 24, 2007

love is key

Augustine said something like: "Love, and do what you please." I recently listened to C.S. Lewis reading The Four Loves and found it fascinating in its gist and where he was going with it, as well as challenging in its scope and detail.

Love as used by us in our vocabulary means many different things and takes on all kinds of different hues. It can have meaning or be descriptive of turning out toward God and others and being life-giving, or it can be turning inward on oneself and be destructive.

God's love as revealed in Christ is key to understanding the kind of love that should inform, transform and conform our lives to Jesus Christ as little christs and as his Body together and for the world. This love we experience is for others. But we are also always dependent on God and must know and experience God's love before we can pass that love on to others. And not only that, it is a love we have that is receptive to other's love in a kind of interdependency of one another as members of Christ.

This love forgives and receives forgiveness and accepts the reality that it is greatly loved in Jesus, the Beloved. The Trinity is a community of self-giving love, each giving of themselves fully and in a self-emptying way to the other and in that there being the dance of God, which in Christ God takes us in to be participants, even as humans, beginning now.

So much to say on love. I will stop here. I need to think of more stories to tell in sharing about it. Maybe you have something like that, or something to add here.


Every Square Inch said...


Good points on your post. In particular, regarding the multiple dimensions of God's love, I found DA Carson's The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God to be helpful.

L.L. Barkat said...

It has always been the LOVE of Jesus that drew me to him, even in times of great doubt or frustration with my faith.

Ted Gossard said...

ESI, Thanks. I too have found D.A. Carson helpful over the years, what I've read of him (not enough, really).

The love of God is certainly related to the entire Story of God we find in Scripture, in one way or another, of course. I read recently (was it from Volf?): God in his nature is love just as ducks in their nature, quack. (something like that)

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Yes, I think we see God through the human face of Jesus Christ. And it's the love of God in Christ Jesus that is so much more than we can imagine.

Yes, for me in my faith Jesus is the key. If I have had doubts, thinking about him squelches them, or puts them in their proper place.


Kim said...

Hi Ted, Many times you can learn about something by examining its opposite. Most people will say that "hate" is the opposite of love. I've come to believe that "selfishness" is love's opposite. It's the first fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22.

I've seen an exposition on the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek agape, which is "ahav." The parsing of the ancient Hebrew glyphs render the meaning as "to reveal the heart of the father."

So, you could replace "love" with that phrase in Ephesians 5:25 and it would go like this: "Husbands, reveal the heart of the father to your wives, just as Christ revealed the heart of the father to the church and gave Himself up for her..."

I like that! Peace, Kim

Ted Gossard said...

Kim, I think a closer Hebrew equivalent to the Greek agape would be hesed, often traditionally translated "loving kindness" or now "love" or meaning loyal, covenant love.

Ahav is important too and the thought you've heard or read from that is interesting.

Families were much more tight-knit in Old Testament Hebrew culture than they are as a rule today. Though as we see from the Biblical account, that doesn't mean there wasn't brokenness in them.

Your thought on the Ephesians passage certainly holds water for the love which Christ had for the church and which we're to have for our wives.

I like your point and agree with it that the opposite of love is self-centeredness. Love gives itself away, or with us humans it is a love from God we keep receiving that we must keep giving for the flow in our hearts to continue. Meant for us and for others as well. And hate is an expression of love, oddly enough. (though Eccle 3 says there's a time to love and a time to hate). Biblical love has a goal and that which is antagonistic to that goal it responds to with hate or anger. I see it something like that....

C.S. Lewis' work on eros is interesting in that he applies this love between a husband and wife as applicable to Christ and the church. Each loses itself in its love for the other. Something like that. Of course Christ the one perfect exemplar/example of that.