Posts Tagged ‘love’

Minding Your Ps and Rs

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

iStock_000004276777abcsWhen did you learn your ABCs? Easy,  right? Just like love…  Michael Jackson thought he knew that at 12. Had he forgotten by the time he turned 50?

The thing about love is, it’s tricky. Most of us, when we talk about love, have no idea what we mean, or even what we want to mean. Just last Sunday, our five-year-old granddaughter threw herself onto a pink and white and multi-pastel pile of new school clothes, wrapped her arms around the whole lot, and screamed, “I love all these!”  Easy as ABC.

But grown-ups have to go a little deeper into the alphabet. This year, I”ve learned that, for me, getting to real love–love as a way of life–means a backwards trip through my Ps and Rs. It’s been an interesting education.

The Three Rs

I’ve lived a lot of my life by following rules. Or, sometimes –disastrously–by breaking them. Rules. Regulations. Religion. Add recrimination. remorse. And retribution. These rolling Rs are good for managing behavior, for maintaining civil society. But not so good at tending to wounds or managing pain. And absolutely useless for restoring wholeness and learning to love.

Then why bother with  the Rs? Because God did. See, there’s this progression. The Rs  are not the point; they’re just the pointers. That whole bundle of Rs–called “the Law” in the Bible–was “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” (Gal 3:24), The Rs bring us face-to-face with the Ps and the love of God.

A Whole Pod of Ps

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I heard Pastor Fred Luter (of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans) wrap words from God around the lessons God has been teaching me in the laboratory of my life. The words and the lessons–the Ps in my backwards trek through the alphabet–center around Jesus. (Who else?)

  • His promise.
    I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. (Jer31:3)
    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28)
  • His presence.
    I am with you always (Matt 28:20)
    Abide in Me, and I in you (John 15:4)
  • His power.
    [Jesus] said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.(Mark 4:39)

The promises, presence, and power of Jesus: more than a clever use of alliteration to punch up a sermon, these Ps are central to life. Here’s the process:

  1. Take in His promises (they’re in the Bible).
  2. Spend time in His presence (that’s what prayer is about; asking for stuff , again, not the point.)
  3. His power builds bone, muscle, and capability in you to live a life of love that blesses you and everyone around you.

That’s how easy love can be.

Extravagant Love

Friday, July 24th, 2009

It’s the middle of the night. I’m wide awake–can’t go back to sleep.  I try counting sheep, but my mind is too busy for that. I start to notice the individuality of each big woolly creature as it jumps over the fence, and I wonder which one fathered Mary’s little lamb. Not a fruitful (or sleep-inducing) line of thought.

Then I fall into a conversation with God.

Maybe not exactly a conversation, more a sitting-together quietly, enjoying each other’s company, like old friends on a porch swing communing silently, just being together. And after a few minutes, the sheer wonder of this moment hits me.

The God of the Universe, the Almighty, the Creator of all things, Who was and is and is to come .. is willing to slice out a piece of Eternity to spend with me. The eternal Word is willing to have a word with pipsqueaky, pissant, decidely mortal me. Not only willing, but delighted. He calls me friend.

I think about the magnitude of that. About the grace, the extravagant love that fuels our relationship. And there are no words to describe the joy, the peace, the sense of right-being that flow over my spirit.

Mother Teresa reportedly once said, We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. I’m no Mother Teresa, but I’d like to amend that a little. God could not be found at all, had He not revealed Himself, emptied Himself, and, as my Grandma would have said, gone way out the way to reconcile us to Himself.

I can almost hear my Friend and my Redeemer speaking to me:

When your spirit’s overwhelmed with grace, then you know what I created you for. You think I’ve loved you all I can? Oh no…I’m gonna love you a whole lot more.

Then I fall asleep.

Ain’t God good?