Sunday Sermon
(by Deacon Mark)

The Lesson’s of Love

“I fled him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled him, down the arches of the years;
I fled him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears…”

- Francis Thompson, The Hound of Heaven

How many times have you found yourself at the end of the road? The sign reads “Dead End” - you saw it as you took the turn but for some reason you thought yourself to be immune to this consequence. And how many other consequences have come your way, even though you would swear that you did nothing to cause yourself such pain? The world is not this uncontrollable, there is a reason for everything, and it begins with us and the understanding that no thought is neutral.

Our need for love comes from so deep inside our souls. Our hunger for another is sometimes all that we can feel, and the thirst for closeness comes to us at the most awkward times. What do these situations have to give to us? What might love’s lessons tell us?

Relationships are the epicenter for most of life’s drama. Our relationship with the world defines us as an individual. And as much as we would all like to be the most important person on the globe, we are sore to realize that this is just not true. Competing egos will never win; conflict always ends with loss on both sides. Everyone we meet is another soul just like us. And just like us this soul has hopes and dreams, memories, regrets, and a past. Every person is a potential gift of love. This gift can be mistreated or ignored, or we can act according to our best behavior, we can act with love.

Love is our loftiest goal. Love is the purest form of heaven that we humans have with which to gift each other. All else in our lives becomes mere framing for the portrait. Our studies, our works, our passions are mere details in the face of love’s pursuit. Without each other, all else is without meaning or purpose. Devoid of community we become slaves of our egos.

Humans were never supposed to be perfect. Humanity was never a place of sanity and truth. We are here for our own reasons, on our own missions, but the general theme has something to do with the lessons that love provides. We can learn so much from love, if only we allow our hearts to be open to its presence. So many relationships are given us from which to learn and grow. Our problem is that we continually place foreign purposes upon these interactions. We continue to screw up time and again because we refuse to learn from our mistakes.

Love is a choice; the choice to see what is true about a situation above all else. This choice is the most difficult choice that you will ever have to make, over and over again. Let’s say (just for fun) that someone comes up to you and cold-cocks you across the face for no apparent reason. You have two choices: one is to act with fear, to assume that this person means you harm, the other is to act with love, and to know that this person is not in their “right mind”, and that they know not what they do.

True love is not the fairy tale crap with your one and only Mr/Mrs Right riding off in the carriage into the sunset. True love comes in many forms but has the same result every time. Love creates more than what was previously available. In this way, love defies the laws of nature, because in giving, both receive. The rest of the world does not work in such an abundant fashion, as we have all experienced. True love is “love without conditions”; the most profound manifestation of God’s love. It says that when I give I want nothing in return. If you think about it, most relationships in your life are not built off of this principle. Most of our memories of love is really conditional love, or fake love. But the purest form of love is not a feeling but a choice to give without want of recognition, return, or rebate.

There is no one who will refuse love when it is offered without conditions. Our relationships are our source of drama because they hold the most potential of change within us. So answer the call of love, open your heart to its transforming power and allow love’s fire to change your deepest self.

“Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’"

-Francis Thompson, ‘The Hound of Heaven’



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