When I speak so of love, I am not speaking of the rather clunky attempts humanity makes of the thing, nor do I mean to make a crude joke of the eros that was, nonetheless, certainly a fact of my beginning. I am speaking of Love as a Person. It is written that God is Love, and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. So you see, Love began me long before my earthly parents met or were even born. My Father had already set in motion a staggering number of events that would eventually lead to the birth of the child that was me. Astonishingly and almost unthinkably, this is no less true for anyone, whether or not they believe.
In this same multitude of events, my Father had also arranged for the death of that child, just as He arranged for the death of His Son. Jesus died selflessly, bearing my sins. I died shamefully only when I began to understand the weight of what He had given for silly, selfish, petty me.
Today (or to be particular, yesterday as of two minutes ago), as I celebrated His resurrection with my blood family and my church family, I thought of Paul as he wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." True, my flesh is not dead, but a person is more than their meat. The part that is me is crucified--hanged by the sheer perfection of Love and my own unworthiness of it--and it is dying the slow death of crucifixion as each year reveals yet another layer of separation from God and yet another facet of the merciful Savior who stands ready to receive me into life--real Life--once this death is complete. This Savior without Whom I would have no chance whatsoever of seeing my way free of the absolute human bondage of sin; without Whom I would not even see the chains.
Oh, and all this is just a mote--just a speck that I am struggling to put into words! This is the second time I have been flooded with a love that was far too exquisite to be human, far too immense to be my own. Along with that pulsing, cascading, aching sharpness is the certainty that it is also but the merest breath of True Love. So much love, so much life, so much mystery rushes through my mind. . .
How I love each of my brothers and sisters in Christ... not only as brothers and sisters, but as members of the same Body. . .
How I love the gifts and strengths of each and long to see them finally unbound by that which is crucified . . .
How I am torn by the weaknesses of each--my own included--and weep at the frailty of flesh removed from glory by sin. . .
How I am at once exhilarated and frightened by the depth of this Love that is both an unquenchable fire and a rushing torrent of water. . .
How I am captivated by the wonder of it all, wanting at once to be consumed by it and yet still clinging to the old self out of simple fear of the unknown. . .
How even now as I sit typing, groping for words, I know that this Story is too expansive to be contained by mere words. I can only communicate in terms of my experience with taste, touch, smell, sight, emotion. . . I am captive of my senses, and yet I have the distinct impression that even sensuality is only "dirty" by the corruptive twisting of sin.
In contemplation of self or in love of others, it is often impossible to separate the sinner from the sin. My God, blessed be His name! does not share that problem, and in Him all things are plain, pure, undefiled, and Real. A child understands such simple and complete love without the complications or nuances added by a decaying mind. For we are born into decay, and the corruption grows as our bodies grow, infecting us more and more completely. It is only by opening ourselves to Love, by allowing the crucifixion of that which is perishable, that we can be raised one day imperishable. It is another seeming paradox. But what is paradox if not to show the fragility of human understanding? One breath of truth and it all comes tumbling gloriously down.