each day during lent i spent some time meditating on the characteristics of love that are listed in the thirteenth chapter of first corinthians. in my own words, i compiled this list: (1) love is patient, (2) love is kind, (3) love is not envious, (4) love is not boastful, (5) love is not arrogant, (6) love is not proud, (7) love does not keep a list of wrongs, (8) love does not insist on one's own way, (9) love is not irritable, (10) love is not resentful, (11) love doesn't rejoice in wrongdoing, (12) love rejoices in the truth, (13) love bears all things, (14) love believes all things, (15) love hopes all things, (16) love endures all things, (17) love never ends. i suppose i should say this is a list of the things that love is and the things love is not. perhaps i should write a post on each of these items, but my intention was to try incorporate each item on the list in my thinking every day. when i found myself becoming angry or frustrated, i tried to call to mind some of these characteristics to compare to my attitude, hoping to become a more loving person by applying the qualities of love to my own present feelings. on the whole, it was a positive way to change my mental point of view, and a way of thinking that i hope i can make a habit.
part of my lenten meditations led me to the realization that God is more than an empathetic God. the God of creation is a God that truly feels our emotions along with us. God hurts along with every abused child, God grieves along with every person who loses a loved one, God's heart breaks along with everyone whose heart is broken by betrayal, God rejoices along with every person who finds true love, God celebrates with every parent who brings a new life into the world. it amazed me to realize that God is one with God's creation, that each of us is united with God because God is part of each of us. how great is a God who caused all things to be and continues to participate in creation by the most intimate connection with what was and is being created.
i feel humbled to say that i believe that God is leading me to a greater truth about the interconnectedness of all things and the presence of God in God's creation. it is not that God is a puppetmaster pulling the strings of our lives, but rather that God who dwells in us is mysteriously present for us, making our joys more joyful and our pains more bearable if we only allow ourselves to participate in that Presence.
my prayer for myself and for you is that we open our hearts to the love that is God and allow ourselves to love without fear, celebrating together the joy that this season symbolizes. shalom.