Thursday, December 25, 2008
"I have discovered the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there is no pain, only more love." -Mother Theresa
I'm sitting here in my mom's new house drinking a glass of white zinfandel and sitting in the most exquisite armchair that has ever graced my buttocks. Ironically enough to my current post in the lap of luxury, I'm also watching the old Jesus movie, "King of Kings". Drinking wine while watching the impoverishment and death of Jesus doesn't seem to go together in my head - it's about as proper as putting a baby in a room filled with gorillas and knives, hopefully you just don't do it.
So while watching this movie I was struck by a couple of lines. Particularly I refer to the scene featuring the sermon on the mount. Jesus responds to a member of the audience who says "I see flesh and blood, how am I to believe that you are the son of God?" I'm pretty sure the quote isn't found in the Bible, but in the movie Jesus responds with the build up of "If you don't believe in me, believe in my work." It's a great idea to go along with my previous post yesterday about rhythm, just doing the right thing even if you don't have the faith - but it brought me to an even bigger idea about love.
In King of Kings I saw something of love that went beyond the popular idea of nihilism that's being adopted by many Christians. The idea of loving others without condemnation; simply saying that everything is OK and that Jesus & I still love you to all of the premarital sex-ers, meat-eaters, nationalists, adulterers, pedophiles, drug users, and corrupted. But I don't think it's that easy now. Love needs to go beyond judgment, it needs to surpass the all encompassing idea of love is the most important thing. Love the homeless, love the widowed, love your neighbor, take another swig from your wine glass.
See I think that we are called to love others at a cost to ourselves, not just this communalistic sort of 'oh I'll take care of you if you need something,' but more of a denying to and of yourself. I should be going out and finding situations that require me to love others more than just hand-outs and volunteering. Love should be a test on the things that I find most comforting, not what I find most convenient.
Jesus talks about how hard it is for a rich man to enter heaven, it's as possible as it is for a camel to squeeze it's way through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:16-24). This calls for sacrifice! This requires the man to relinquish his comforts so that he might be spared from distraction and engage the most important task!
In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus himself asks his father to take the cup of God's wrath away from him (Luke 22:42). I feel like this is the degree of love that should strive for, being placed in a situation where it outright hurts to love and in turn being forced into prayer.
Love in a sense, being the premium of Jesus' message pertains to giving up your own comfort so that you can undertake the perspectives of others:
It's not about working with homeless people. It's about becoming homeless yourself.
It's not about an offering. It's about a commitment to give of yourself.
It's not about defending how you feel when someone disagrees, it's about loving them even though they don't understand you, and helping them to receive your love.
So now I sit here in front of a computer, looking at an empty glass of white zinfindel in a new home and I wonder how I'm going to show this sort of love to others, especially on Christmas. I hope you have a great one.