24 June 2017

Love Is the Refuge of the Way

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles."

Nor will love be seen coming from the hearts of those who are fallen into wickedness: they are the fruit of hate, deceit, greed, fear, pride, possession, and aggression. And they will not only forsake love by washing their hands of it, they will eventually come to condemn it, and persecute it—  and thereby condemn themselves.

For the people of God love is the touchstone of faith, the way to know if what we believe is with Him, or from something else;  if we are walking with Him, or with something else;  if the one who speaks is speaking for Him, or for something else;  if we are keeping Him in our hearts, or something else; if we love Him, or ourselves, or something else.

Love does not speak with hate or fear or derision, but with the fullness of existence which is joy and mercy.

Love is ridiculed and trampled upon by that which is in opposition to His creation.

When you are in doubt or confusion about what is true and what is false, look for the light of love. This is the hallmark of the spirit in the world.

And if it is not there, if an act is wrapped in the hardness of pride, disguised even as an elaborate ritual observance and Pharisaical pride, then you will know what it truly is. It is a sin against the spirit.

Love is not easy; it is not a natural state. It seems weak and foolish, and despicable to the fallen of this world and the next who by declaration of their hearts and minds non serviam, will not serve.

Love is an attitude of the mind and of the heart, a living for oneself in the other, an act of acceptance of grace, not by but through the will.  Love is a shield against temptation.  It is a predisposition, a habit of acting and looking at things in a certain way.

The disposition to love becomes easier and more comfortable as we carry that yoke, that restraint on our weaker nature and our harsher emotions. Over time the yoke that restrains our anger and pride becomes lighter, and a light to steady us in life's darker moments.

But it is rarely easy or natural, which makes it the stuff of the brave, of the spiritually and emotionally hardy, and especially of God's knights. The way of the world, of anger and oppression and power, is the easy path. But it is not the way of the truly human.

So we remember that we are sinners, but reaching out to the eternal, and thereby attempting great things— if but clumsily and with a number failings and denials like the apostle himself.

This is how the people of God may guide themselves and their own actions along the way.  If there is no love evident in the words and the heart, then the words and the actions are not of God, but of something else.

Love is not what we do, but how we do what we do. Love is found in the most ordinary things, not in grand gestures and elaborate mannerisms.  It resides in small daily acts of kindness and fellowship, done lovingly and with care, for His sake. It is how we carry our cross, not in front of a cheering crowd, but in the quiet moments, and the little things, while walking with Him.

The hardened heart judges others, while ignoring its own sins, thinking itself good.   Love is mercy, as it shows us our commonality with our fellow humanity as a weak and sinful creature.

We do not need to hate and reject the world, and despise and subdue His creation. Creation is a gift from God, to which we bring our own good use and order in His name. And if we are wise, with our reverent humility and wonder.

We can work with His gifts lovingly, and not abuse them from an excess of greed.  It is not the world itself that is a source of evil, but the willfulness of our hearts, hardened by pride.

Only love is creative and productive. Only love is accepting and uplifting, able to bring all things forward to His plan and make them new. Love consecrates, while sin desecrates and destroys in its lust for possession and the will to power.

Obviously this law of love is applicable to all people, but is of particular attention to those whose hearts have been already touched by God's mercy.  It is the way to be abundant and merciful, in a time of spiritual wickedness, and dark powers in high places.

God is the essence of all existence, which is His love. The pity for those who would otherwise be faithful to the word, the spirit of the Logos, then, is not to love.    Love endures all.

Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of many will grow cold. But those who stand firm to the end will be saved. And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.