Saturday, June 27, 2009

Five Stories - Part III

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Starbucks this week. The rest of the family has been participating in Summer Kid’s Club at church, so each evening has opened up a couple of hours of solitude, a chance to catch up of some reading and bang on my laptop. Periodically, I look up from what I’m doing, just to see who's walking in and out. Occasionally I’ll see someone that I know, but most of the time, I just watch strangers. I see facial expressions and hear conversations. One thing I can tell you after spending a week of evenings in Starbucks; you really get a feel for the cultural pulse of your community.

“Love one another”. Yeah, I know. Easier said than done, right? I’ve come to a conclusion this week. It’s hard to love one another these days. Overall, we live in a culture that is becoming increasingly angry, frustrated and apathetic. Whether it’s dealing with the regular threat of terrorism, war, the economy, politics or the death of Michael Jackson, there are countless outside factors that negatively affect our day-to-day lives. The frustrations build, anger develops and the next thing we know, we are biting the head off the Barista at Starbucks because she didn’t put enough espresso in our grande Latte; like the guy who just stormed out! “Love one another”.

Story number three of “Five Stories” revolves around a young couple that I saw last week that really seemed to love each other; at least for the time being! They came in, head to toe in tattoos and piercings and looked like they were just making a coffee stop on their way out for a night on the town. They sat down with their coffees, laughing and engaged in discussion. Amid the occasional “F-Bomb”, and other choice four letter words, their conversation seemed to go nowhere. Words went in one ear and out the other as they threw words at each other. No substance. No conversation. Just words flying from one chair to another, with the occasional one landing near me. There is the appearance of love, but in reality, it’s not real. It’s a counterfeit painting. A mini drama being played out with an audience of one and his laptop. It got to a point where I didn’t like what I was hearing. There was a lot of pain just beneath the surface and it began to bubble up as I listened. My heart felt heavy and I seemed to feel the pain that was emanating from them. I felt love for this couple. Strange, but I felt love. “Love one another.”

Remember, “God is love.” John goes on to write “whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us…because in this world we are like him.” (1 John 4:17) How is love made “complete” in this way? Is it because our feeble attempts to “love one another come up empty, shallow and void of emotion? Is it because we are unable to “love one another” without the infusion of God, who is the essence of love? Is true love possible without a relationship with the one who is literally love? Do we have to be engaged in real love before we can offer it readily to those we come in contact with? I wonder. “Love one another”.

Love is active, complex and deep. It’s not an emotion that we take out and use at our disposal, like a tool or weapon to get what we want. Rather, the more I think about it, love is a state of being. And if we follow what God has commanded from us, and what He freely offers us, we exist in perfect and complete love. Day and night, we live and breathe love because God is love. Christ said, and I am paraphrasing, that He is like a vine and His followers are like branches, organically connected and intertwined, so that we live through Him and in Him. Could the life giving sap that runs through this union be the love that bonds each of us together as one? (John 15:1-17)

“God is Love” “Love one another”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It may still be love between the two, it just doesn't look the same when God is not involved. It is just a distorted kind of love. It is part of our broken world.

Interesting either way.