Anyone who has tried to love others in general terms has discovered just how impossible that is.
Go ahead and try it. Just set out today with the intention of loving everyone you meet. That means you would have to love the one who cuts you off on the highway, the one who runs into you with a cart at the grocery store, the one who yells in your face because they are having a bad day, the one who scratches your paint with their door in the parking lot, the one who talks about you behind your back, the one who strikes you on the cheek, and so on.
Some may be able to accomplish that, but I have trouble with it.
And yet Jesus calls us to just that kind of impossible love.
“Love one another,” he tells us.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Come on, really, I love myself pretty well).”
“Love others as I (Christ) have loved you.” (That means love them even to the cross?)
And finally even, “Love your enemies.” (That means real enemies — those who might hurt you or your loved ones. Those who might kill and destroy.)
Who can do that? It is impossible for me.
The law of love shimmers before us like an impossible dream.
In the Greek language there are three words for love and it is there we might find a better understanding of it. All of us are familiar with the notion of romantic love. That is the pouring out of affection and love on another person because they are beautiful or in some other way worthy of our love. We have seen this kind of love often enough in the cinema or in books and magazines.
Another kind of love is philia. That is the kind of love that is found between close friends. (Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love.) You like that person because they like you. It’s a mutual kind of love. You have certain things in common and like to do things together.
The third kind of love is agape. This is the kind of love that seeks nothing in return. It is the love of God working in the lives of human beings. You love others not because they are loveable in themselves, but because they are loved by God. God created them as he created you, and so you recognize in them the love with which God created them. This kind of love is redemptive. It is by agape that we can win others even if they hate us. It is the kind of love that would cause us to accept pain and suffering rather than to ever inflict it upon others. It is the kind of love that takes us all the way to the foot of the cross, and then allows us to take the cross upon ourselves.
Agape love is the kind of love that brings unity. It is the revolutionary kind of love that is going to bring all Christian believers and all Christian congregations together in Pagosa Springs to become the True Church. The mustard seed has been planted, and it is growing. Watch for it. It is already growing into a congregation near you.
Some will shake their heads and say “Unity in the Church? Oneness of Christian believers? That is not possible.”
Well, I would like to remind them: Nothing is impossible with the love of God.
Send in your articles of faith to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit between 500 to 800 words.