Thursday, August 4, 2011

Church and Experience: Dialogue II (Defining Love)

Experience: If you would just have more Love how your people (and the world!) could be cured of its insensitivity and self-centeredness. Too often your people look like a Social Club rather than a hospital for the sick. Your people so easily forget the Lord's Greatest Commandment: Love God, Neighbor, Self, (Matthew 22:36-39). Love embraces instead of excluding. Love that will be for all no matter what they look like, what they believe, what they do. Doesn't God love all? Why can't your people be more tolerant?
Church: Love is certainly important. Love is a part of God’s essence and should be of mine. You have named some very important Scripture passages that are at the heart of what I am. But, Experience, for all your lofty talk about love can you define it for me?
Experience: Unconditional, tolerant. Love, love, love.
Church: Those are characteristics of love I've heard a lot lately. I recall the story of how the prophet Hosea was called by God to merry Gomer, the whore. This shows God is faithful in spite of the people's unfaithfulness. God is committed to them even when their own commitment is shaky and tentative and even non-existent. But also in this story God doesn't change who He is for them. God is, in fact, free from them. God can be free because God is so stable in His ability to give love without changing.
Experience: I'm not sure I follow you Church. Aren't you proving my point? God is love therefore the experience of love and giving of love is enduring and eternal. See, Church, you need me. Enter into a contractual agreement with me. 
Church: Experience, you too have made me think. Though, love is more than a concept. Love is tangible. More than simply a feeling or tolerance of ideas and behaviors, God's love was tangibly expressed in giving of His Son and how the Son lived and died for the world. God's love is compassionate. God's love is sacrificial. Certainly you are right that experience of God's love should lead toward (and even be measured by our) love for our neighbors. But love is also free from having to bow at the altar of tolerance, because it is rooted and has as its foundation in the Holy God of Scripture. That's why, my dear friend Experience, I must pass.   

No comments:

Post a Comment