Monday, May 7, 2012

Homily for Easter 5

God is love,
and those who abide in love
abide in God,
and God abides in them.

At the end of the Gospel according to John there is a section which states:

But these are written so that you may come to believe that
Jesus is the Messiah,
the Son of God,
and that through believing you may have life in his name.

The purpose of the gospel is to tell people about Jesus, so that they will believe. By hearing or reading the Gospel, they will understand, and feel, that he is the Son of God, and because he is the Son of God, it is a good idea to follow him and live and love according to his way.

The first letter of John has a different purpose.
It is written for people who have accepted the Jesus as Son of God idea.
It is written for people who are following Jesus.
It is written as a kind of set of proofs or “how to’s”
It is like a users manual of Christianity.
Kind of.

The wonderful section today is such a section.
This magnificent writing that slowly spirals around,
gradually removing words and adding new ones,
 that ever so slightly, but significantly deepen the meaning.

The spiral reaches points that are no more definable or alterable.
They are so pure and perfected that they have to be left as they are.

God is love,                                                  and those who
abide in love
abide in God,
and God
abides in them.

It is a perfected sentence. It is beyond refining.
It is dense in its collected meaning from all that has gone before.
It is resonant in experience and wisdom.
It is filled with truth and depth.

God is                                    love
and     those who
abide              in                                                                     love
abide              in                       God
and                                                                              God
abides            in                                                                                       

As God is love, so where love is, God is,
and the permanence of love in us
means that we are permanently dwelling in God
and God in us.

This presence of love is proof of the presence of the Spirit of God,
and the presence of the Spirit
is the guarantee of the mutual indwelling of God and us.

This is the meaning.
Union with God.
The letter expresses this in terms of mutual indwelling.
God in us, and us in God.

God is Love.

Love can come from no where else, other than God.
Not only is God the source of all love, he is love itself.
Anyone who really loves, is of God, and knows God.

On the other hand,
as God’s very being is love,
someone who is loveless or selfish shows they do not know God.

It might pay to pause there for a moment.

selfishness, nastiness, and  jealousy,
our pettiness,
our need to always be right,
our self absorption,
our ego driven need for recognition
are all signs that we are missing the point about God.
They show the parts of our hearts that God doesn’t get a look into.
God does not abide in such thoughts, feelings, and actions.
When we act, think or feel in such a way,
we are pushing God out of the way.

These are acts, thoughts and feelings that we own and they come from us.

Love is different.

Love doesn’t belong to human nature.
It doesn’t start from our side toward God.
It is the other way. God started it.

He sent his son to reconcile us to himself by the sacrifice of his life.

The love of God
incarnate in Jesus
has to become
incarnate in Christians,
and love which is received
in and with
divine life,
must like that life
be active.

In God we see love as the sacrifice of self for humanity.
It is that sense of sacrifice and giving of self
to our fellow brother and sisters that we need to follow.

 God is
and those
who    abide in               love
           abide in              God
and                               God
         abides in                       them.

Over the past few weeks, a group of us have been exploring the work of Julian of Norwich. She had many things to say about God’s love. Her whole understanding of God could be reduced to God is love.

After receiving her visions, and contemplating, meditating and praying upon their meaning, she wrote:

I desired in many ways to know what was our Lord's meaning.
And fifteen years after and more, I was answered in spiritual understanding, and it was said:
What, do you wish to know your Lord's meaning in this thing?
Know it well, love was his meaning.
Who reveals it to you? Love.
What did he reveal to you? Love.
Why does he reveal it to you? For love.
Remain in this, and you will know more of the same.
But you will never know different, without end.

Love was his meaning.

is love,
and those who abide
in love
abide in God,
and God
abides in them.



Citizen Atheist said...

God is most certainly NOT love. The god of the old testament is a wicked, evil brute who is not worthy of worship.

orczy said...

Well, we will probably disagree about this, and no arguing is going to change either of our minds. My experience has shown me that God is love, and it is through love that we experience God.