I suppose I will wade into the territory of poets and ask the question:
What is Love?
One could argue there are different kinds of love, for example, romantic love or familial love. But even with that in mind, folks today use the term very liberally. People are quick to say: I “love” broccoli; or I “love” Schnauzer dogs; or I love ______(you fill in the blank). But we also say earnestly that we love our family and our country. Love is not just a feeling of attraction or affection. Certainly, the bond and sense of connection I have for my son is not “just” a feeling.
Love is something real, a state of relationship as much as a feeling. As people of faith, we proclaim that God loves us. Does God love us like we love coffee or like we love our family? In the book of 1 John you will find the words: “God is love. Anyone who lives faithfully in love also lives faithfully in God, and God lives in them. . . We love because God has first loved us.” I believe God’s love to be the unending, unbreakable love which transcends and surpasses all the fleeting and hard won ways humans love. I may not be able to define what love is, but I know it. I recognize love because I have been loved. My parents introduced me to love. Dear friends help me to trust love. My husband partners with me on sustaining love. And as a child and even as an awkward teen I also knew love from the community of people I called “my Church”. Love is a powerful and mysterious gift and surely it comes from God.
When you walk into the local grocery or drug store this month you will see the telltale signs that Valentine’s Day is coming. There will be red hearts and cupids all over- if they aren’t already. While some may condemn this commercialized, Hallmark holiday, I’m ok with it. I welcome any chance for the world to look to love, in any form, just a little bit more. I welcome everyone saying “I love you” to people who matter to us. There are worse things.
Love is life affirming. Love is energizing. Love is dynamic and catching. This month won’t you join me in wondering about love; won’t you join me in trying to nurture love- love of self, love of neighbor, love for community and… love of God.
“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13: 1-2