Monday, December 21, 2009
“Don’t you want somebody to love…don’t you need somebody to love…wouldn’t you love somebody to love…you’d better find somebody to love….” Jefferson Airplane
Is it true that we need somebody to love? I am thinking about the Jefferson Airplane song from the Sixties where Grace Slick repeatedly begs the question amid guitar riffs. Want somebody?
Questions arise in my mind about the meaning of “love” Jefferson Airplane might have been referring to as, we must know, there is more than one meaning of the word love. Given the general motivation and “mood” and fruit grown on the “Sixties Hippie-tree” I could assume that Grace Slick was not referring to the kind of love which can also be translated, “Charity.” Silly me? Of course even the lowest form of the word love has a root in higher forms. However, the two should not be so easily used interchangeably as this would confuse the true meaning of the higher and raise the significance of the lower above it’s proper place. In other words, love is love but isn’t necessarily true love but is often lust masquerading AS love.
Why is it important to make this distinction? After all, many would suggest, that to “over-think” the meaning and actions of love would strip love of some degree of power, intrigue, mystery etc. I would suggest, however, that one cannot love what it doesn’t know, at least to some degree, and to purposely maintain ignorance about the “somebody to love” demonstrates a decision against True-Love. It is interesting that there is even a term, “True-Love” in existence as it likewise assumes there is something in existence that is conversely False-love…yet all of the fawning and dreamy songs in existence seem to, almost to a song, fall far short of anything True…as Love, if it is in fact REAL cannot be false. It is interesting how language often evolves toward falsehood and away from truth…but that it another topic.
In reality love is ultimate reality as God (Who stands as ultimate reality) has revealed Himself as love. What does this mean though? God is love. Have you thought about that? It is often quoted, placed on many items in Christian bookstores from Precious Moments figurines to inspirational plaques, paper-weights and even something referred to as “executive stationary.” Hilarious! I think this is one of those things that too easily gets tossed around but as a result of over-familiarity with the statement comes our equal lack of understanding of the verse. But for a moment let’s go back to Jefferson Airplane.
In my mind Jefferson Airplane (also later known as Jefferson Starship…later than that just known as Starship...maybe by now they are known as Space-Shuttle…not sure) represents our general lack of understanding of love which truly stands as the most important reality in the Universe...a reality that no space-vehicle can reach. God Himself has revealed Himself as Love and this Love is the highest form of Love. God has been revealed as One God in Three Persons. God is One, yet distinct. One Divine Nature (God Nature) but Three distinct Persons…revealed to us as God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. I have to give credit where credit is due, however, even if some credit is extended to Jefferson Airplane. They got one aspect of Love right in their question, “Don’t you NEED somebody to love?” Have you ever thought about why we cannot Love without having a distinct “other” to Love? Why can’t we simply love ourselves and call it good? After all God Loves us individually as if we were the sole individual in existence (according to Saint Augustine) right? However, we were created by God, by Love, out of ultimate Love so that we would be able to Love…that we would BE Love…give it, receive it and live in it. It is true that we NEED somebody to love because we were created in God’s image and likeness. God who is love created us to mirror Him. We mirror Him by loving as He loves. We reach our highest purpose…our goal…our “Telos” when we give and receive Love as He does among the Three Divine Persons. So what does this love look like in space and time?
Admittedly the sort of Love that God shares among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is completely above and beyond us. To use words to describe these realities is almost insulting and anyone who attempts to speak of the such things does so only as a fool. We only avoid being complete fools by the Grace of God and His Loving disposition toward us, His Children, that He created. The grandeur of God is totally other yet at the same time it is something He, out of love, desires that we participate in as fully as possible. I prefer the word, “Charity” because it is clearer in our experience (though also an imperfect descriptor) to the higher form of Love those who love God aspire toward. When we “give to Charity” we understand that we only gain by the giving. Love is total self-giving for the sake of another…which is for the sake of all others. Love is not necessarily a feeling at all but it can surely produce feelings in us…either by abundance or our experience of lack. Love is not an emotion either. Love, like I said above, is God Himself. We know love by this…that God created us to be like Himself in all things…Loves us despite our inability to Love as He loves…and even came PERSON-ally…revealing Himself in Jesus Christ that we might be restored to full-communion with the Blessed Trinity…clearly something we were not able to accomplish on our own. So, do we NEED somebody to love? Of course we do…yet not with the same motivations in operation in the Sixties “love” culture…but for the sake of others…out of our Love for God. Unselfishly. Always seeking the best for others. Always pointing others toward ultimate Truth (God Himself) and doing so in our actions, words…what we do and what we choose not to do.
I want somebody to love…I need somebody to love...so I reach for this goal but, God permitting, will live Love His way, with His constant help...by His Grace. His Grace is indeed sufficient for us…He’s given us all we need to begin to Love. The reality I have EVERYONE to Love. Not for myself, but for the sake of ALL others. So with this I again begin and pray you are encouraged to do likewise.
As Saint Paul proclaimed in his letter to the Corinthian Church:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
In order to Love we need other people to whom we give it and with whom to live it.