“When the love of power is overcome by the power of love, the wold will know peace”- attributed to Jimi Hendrix
"God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house,”
-I John 4:17 The Message
Valentine’s Day. It’s all about the love. A year ago Ash Wednesday was on Valentine’s Day and we were starting our Lenten journey. This year during Lent we will be offering a book study on Jacqueline Bussie’s book Love Without Limits; Jesus’ Radical Vision for Love with NO Exceptions. Even if you can’t make it to any of the study times I encourage you to read this book. It’a available on Amazon and we may have a few copies still available that we purchased with a Thrivent grant.
In week 7 of our Weight loss series we are letting go of the weight of anxiety and asking God for stillness and calm- peacefulness. Love helps make this happen. The love of God in Jesus is pure gift, freely given to all. Thus both awesome and challenging. Romantic love, parenting, friendship and human connection include love and can be based in the love that God has for us. Yet the love God has for us is so much more. The agape love that Dr. Bussie shares about in Love Without Limits is able to have no exceptions and that’s what makes this both powerful and challenging for us.
There is another book with a similar title by Nick and Kanae Vujicic. They share the story of their relationship and how God is at the center of it. Despite Nick having been born with no arms or legs and Kanae coming from a dysfunctional home where healthy relationships were not modeled, they have created a loving marriage. It looks to be a motivational book.
During Lent we are going to focus on relationships of all types and fuel our exploration in scripture, story and making connections with one another. How do we grow in living in God’s unconditional, no exceptions love for us?
About a year ago, I was checking in with the therapist I see to help me keep perspective, sort through my challenges, and hold me accountable. She was able to lovingly point out to me that even though I thought I was loving, giving and serving with God’s love, it was really mine. Trying to self-generate compassion and understanding through reason, patience and persistence -the love I was working from wasn't the agape love of God it was the effort fueled, "I can make this work" love. It’s been a year long journey that will be a lifelong process. Reading Love Without Limits has been another piece in the puzzle for me.
One of the helpful insights from Dr. Bussie is that we don’t need to agree to seek understanding. Instead of letting the agape love I have received from God flow through me I was trying to “be a loving person”. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but alone it is not enough. There is still a lot of work for me to do around this and Dr. Bussie’s book has been another piece in the puzzle of my journey to "love bigger and better" especially in these divided times.
So for today, I am going to keep letting in that amazing agape love of God and not get stuck turning it into something I earn or deserve. Instead I am going to be open to how the Spirit is leading me in life of love so that that love can have “the run of the house".
This Valentine’s Day 2019 may you experience the agape love of God alongside romantic love, friendship love, family love. Together the power of love freely given transforms the love of power- may you know the peace today that surpasses our human efforts and is a gift from God.