By Rev. Jim Innes
As we move into the new year, I'd like to offer a priest's reflection on Love.
Love has been the bane of my existence. Since childhood, Love has been a very messy and frightening reality. Given up for adoption at 5 weeks, raised by parents with many problems, choosing marriages that couldn't work out, and failing many parenting tasks, I can more or less say that Love triggers PTSD in me.
As I see it, God loved us into existence (at whatever evolutionary starting point we believe in). Love is the defining intent within the created order. God formed us from the dust of the ground and breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and we became a living being (Genesis).
Love is also the clay from which we're sculpted. We are Love fashioned into form. Love is who we are. Science tells us that when people experience Love (Love as a feeling), our bodies (Love as form) vibrate and buzz with increased life. There is a measurable increase in the body's dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine levels.
Love's influential energy is not only in our DNA; it is the lifeblood of all that will and will always be. It carries the whole of history. In Christian scriptures, this dynamic Love is interwoven through all of the Biblical narratives. It is there in the account of creation, the stories of our selfless prophets, our redemption by Jesus' sacrifice, and the ongoing process of restoration (the everyday activity of the Holy Spirit).
Yet Christianity does not have a corner on this dynamic concept. Creative Love is also there in various myths of old. One such Greek story teaches us:
In the beginning, there was empty darkness. The only thing in this void was Nyx, a bird with black wings. With the wind, she laid a golden egg. Then sat upon it until life began to stir. Out of it rose Eros, the God of Love. Half of the shell rose into the air and became the sky; the other became the Earth. Eros named the sky Uranus and the Earth he called Gaia. Then Eros made them fall in Love.
By all accounts, God's Love is the uniting connection to all creation. We are brothers and sisters living upon Mother Earth, held fast by Father sky, resonating with everything everywhere. It is as undeniable as the air we breathe.
Love will wear us down to open us up. We may deny it and run from it (for many good reasons). But, it is our ultimate destiny to be reined in and absorbed into this inclusive, all-embracing energy.
It was once said, "Love is an energy which exists of itself. It is its own value." It wants to permeate everything, to restore all things to their original vitality. So despite Love wounding me over the years (of course, with no fault of my own), Love will also save me.
When I read bumper stickers that tell me 'Jesus Saves,' what I interpret as the saving element is not so much Jesus the Son, but the Love from which he was created, sent to emulate and teach us, and finally, that he viciously died trying to protect.
Rev. Jim Innes is the rector of the Regional Ministry of South Huron.