The world no longer trusts Christians who ʻlove Jesus but do not seem to love anything else,” writes Richard Rohr, in his latest book, The Universal Christ.
Valentine’s Day is a good day to reflect on what we love, who we love, how we love. My earliest memory of Valentine’s Day is the small heart- shaped box of chocolates my father gave to me every year. Not a man who was lavish in gift giving, a year never passed without him giving my sister and me the small heart-shaped boxes of Russell Stover candies and my mom the very large heart-shaped box. As a child, it was not so much the candy as it was the box, and having one all my own, that spoke volumes.
As an adult, relationships of love become more complicated and challenging. Betrayal, heartbreak, disappointment and loneliness become companions on the adult journey. I John says “those who do not love each other, do not love God.” I Corinthians says “Love is patient and kind.” But lovers can be terribly impatient and unkind. And loving God in the abstract seems easier than loving the flawed humans with whom we share our daily lives.
Richard Rohr writes “If it helps you to love and to hope, then it is the true religion of Christ.” I believe that the love my father and mother poured into my sister and me, enabled us to become people who dare to believe that God is love. And I believe that church, at its best, empowers us not just to love God, but to love one another. Our lives of faith and our lives shared with family and friends, are inextricably linked. We love, because God first loved us.
Grace and peace,