Monday, 13 August 2018

Divine Love

Love is so much more than the romantic sort. We have known this for a long time, but we tend to forget it. We have the love of family, of course, and that is well understood, but love without context generally refers to romantic love, or euphemistically to sex, as in physical “acts of love”. We have love songs, and love stories, and (more's the pity) Love Island.
Love is more than wanting to be with someone, more than caring deeply for some specific individuals. It is more than selfless devotion to a lover or a child. There is love in fast friendship, love in care for anyone. There is love throughout life, if we allow there to be.
There is a deep and abiding love that goes beyond our personal relationships. There is a drive to relieve suffering, to promote joy and happiness and fulfilment, to help people be the best they can be, in whatever way is important to them. In protecting and nurturing, in teaching and guiding, in giving and helping.
This love does not guarantee right action. It is at the heart of patriotism, and the willingness to defend one's country and one's fellows even in hostile action. It is at the heart of the desire to prevent those who have shown their ability to do harm from doing so again, even when this is taken to extreme forms of judicial punishment. It is at the heart of the will to drive those we care for to do the best they can, even when we drive them too far.
Yet love can temper justice, and give life to wisdom. It can uphold us and support us, drive us and enfold us.
This love, that we can feel for all people, all things, is an essence of the Divine, but it is not the only such essence. We must learn to feel it, to know it, to let it permeate our being – but not to the exclusion of all else. There is more to divine obedience than love, but without love there can be no divine obedience.
Written July 2018
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