MINISTER’S BLOG —
Living Love: I am a living loving expression of God right here and now.
This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. ~ Jesus, Gospel of John 15:12
Jesus taught us to love everyone the way he loved us: unconditionally. He said it is easy to love those who treat you well. Even the most spiritually immature individual can do that. But spiritual maturity calls us to stretch our boundaries until we can truly love everyone — until we are the living loving expression of God wherever we find ourselves moment by moment.
There was once a popular bumper sticker that read, “God loves you – and I’m trying.” Most of us have encountered individuals we felt that way about, haven’t we? But “trying” to love another does not accomplish our mission. A more effective method is to stop trying and, as the famous shoe ad says, “Just do it!”
Trying to love those we have determined are undesirable, annoying or hurtful suggests there is something defective about them that we are benevolently attempting to overcome. An effort to love in this way is an action of the ego and is destined to fail. The ego is not bad, nor is it the enemy. However, if not spiritualized, it can cause us to shut others out because they are different or have characteristics or behaviors that cause us to feel uncomfortable. In other words, they do not meet our criteria for being lovable. The ego approach to love is usually logical, self-centered and fearful of being hurt or losing. It attempts to justify and explain our closed heart and resistance to love.
Loving the seemingly unlovable is an action of God through us and it is destined to succeed. The moment we invite God to do the loving through us, our ability to hold others out of our heart is weakened. They no longer have to meet our worthiness checklist to be lovable. The artificial barriers between us and them are shattered. Then, with no justification and no explanation, our hearts are opened and it is done. We love them! This is how we become the living loving expression of God here and now.
I admit it may take practice to let God work this miracle of love through us, even for a few moments. But we can do it. If we are to take the next step in spiritual maturity, we must do it and it may be easier than we have imagined. C.S. Lewis wrote, “The rule for us all is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
So, dear heart, let’s “just do it!”
Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you.
This month Sunday services will focus on how we can expand our ability to be the living loving expression of God in all of our relationships and activities. I look forward to seeing you at church.
— Rev. Carmen Rich Zappi