Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

God Is Love.

Friday, February 8th, 2019

God is Love from top to bottom, beginning to end — inside and out. The expanse of God who is Love is boundless, limitless, unrestricted, and unrestrained. His actions and reactions to every molecule and movement of your life is always Love. God is pedal-to-the-metal in love with you — always has been, always will be.

This is the Grace that has always been flowing like a river in your soul, seeking to break the dams of religiosity that hold you captive and well up in you with streams of life everlasting and overflowing.

— Chris Kratzer, Leatherbound Terrorism, p. 65

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 16, 2015

Also About Life

Monday, January 21st, 2019

What happened on the cross has been the subject of wonder and debate for centuries, with Christians of good faith employing different metaphors and language to articulate its significance, but any view that reduces Jesus to a sort of deus ex machina, necessary only for a single moment of rescue, strips the incarnation of all its power and tells a far simpler story than the one the Bible actually gives us. Jesus didn’t just “come to die.” Jesus came to live — to teach, to heal, to tell stories, to protest, to turn over tables, to touch people who weren’t supposed to be touched and eat with people who weren’t supposed to be eaten with, to break bread, to pour wine, to wash feet, to face temptation, to tick off the authorities, to fulfill Scripture, to forgive, to announce the start of a brand-new kingdom, to show us what that kingdom is like, to show us what God is like, to love his enemies to the point of death at their hands, and to beat death by rising from the grave.

Jesus did not simply die to save us from our sins; Jesus lived to save us from our sins. His life and teachings show us the way to liberation.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 154-155

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 14, 2019

Expanded Present

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

In mindfulness, we are talking about a sense of an expanded present. Our protestations, our clinging to the past, our efforts to control the future may arise, but they are strongly attenuated by remembering to simply be with what is. We drop through our reactions to a space of profound, grateful connection – that is love of life itself. Always keep in mind that in reality, what we might have in this moment with a friend, with a place, with a dance, with a poem is the one more time. Treasure it.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 290

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 17, 2019

Generating Joy

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

The third element of true love is the capacity to offer joy. When you know how to generate joy, it nourishes you and nourishes the other person. Your presence is an offering, like fresh air, or spring flowers, or the bright blue sky.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love, p. 20

Photo: Centreville, Virginia, April 10, 2010

Returning to the Center

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

The more you take things personally, the more you suffer. You observe it, hold it up to the light, release it, and move on. One can choose to let suffering be the elevator to a heightened place of humble loving. You adjust the knot on the red string around your wrist and find your center again.

Humility returns the center of gravity to the center. It addresses the ego clinging, which supplies oxygen to our suffering. It calls for a light grasp. For the opposite of clinging is not letting go but cherishing. This is the goal of the practice of humility. That having a “light grasp” on life prepares the way for cherishing what is right in front of us.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 105-106

Photo:  South Riding, Virginia, January 13, 2019

Loving as God Does

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Our frightened selves want only for the gathered to like us, to agree with us, or be intimidated by us. I suppose Jesus walks into a room and loves what he finds there. Delights in it, in fact. Maybe, He makes a beeline to the outcasts and chooses, in them, to go where love has not yet arrived. His ways aren’t our ways, but they sure could be.

We have grown accustomed to think that loving as God does is hard. We think it’s about moral strain and obligation. We presume it requires a spiritual muscularity of which we are not capable, a layering of burden on top of sacrifice, with a side order of guilt. (But it was love, after all, that made the cross salvific, not the sheer torture of it.)

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 155

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 8, 2019

Power in Love

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

There’s power in love. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live.

— Michael Curry, The Power of Love, p. 8

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 6, 2018

Saving the World

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

For God to resort to violence in order to save the world is not saving the world; it’s condemning the world. But John tells us, “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” God saves the world not through the impatience of violence but through the infinite patience of divine love. I understand the incredulity of unbelievers toward the idea that the world can be saved by love and without violence; it is this very incredulity that lies at the foundation of their unbelief. But it is the very inconceivability of God-saving love in Christ that Christians are to believe in most of all. If John 3:16 is to mean anything, it must mean that God gets what God wants through love, or not at all. If I believe that love never fails, it’s because I believe that God is love. To believe in the sufficiency of God’s love to save the world is not naïve optimism; it’s Christianity.

— Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, p. 206-207.

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 21, 2018

Surprises

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Instead of gripping tightly to a fixed idea of how things are and how they should be, we can train our mind to hold those notions lightly and begin each day ready to explore. We do not need to face the world demanding that it prove us right. Instead, we can say to it: Surprise me. We can become excited by the possibility that if we keep our eyes open, we open our hearts to something new. To have the kind of openness that cultivates awe does not mean we have to be credulous and sentimental, but the ironic stance – to act unimpressed because we fear looking foolish – has us experiencing our own lives at a distance. If, instead, we open our hearts to real love, we allow ourselves to feel the wonder of life, which research says is vital to sustaining our connection to the world and to one another.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 283

Photo: January 24, 2004, Sembach, Germany

The Power of Love

Monday, December 24th, 2018

I hope you recognize love as the most powerful force for personal change and for changing the world around us.  Yes, we live in scary times.  Yes, people are hurting.  Yes, people are hurting one another.  But anger is not the key; revenge is not the answer.  The way of love — the love and power of God — is the key to our hope and to our future.

The message of God is very simple.  Love one another.  Take care of one another.  Take care of creation.  And while you’re at it, love me — love God.  Do that and you will find your way.  That is the core of the gospel.  That is the only sermon that matters.

— Michael Curry, The Power of Love, p. xvi.

Photo: Leithöfe, Germany, Christmas 1996