May 27, 2021

Transcendent Love

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35, NRSV

During Lent, it was my intention to add a specific time during the day for a special time of quiet and devotion. In preparation for this I ordered some of the devotional books by Howard Thurman. Dr. Thurman, author, philosopher, theologian, pastor, educator, and civil rights leader, is known for his deep spiritual insights.

In the book, The Inward Journey, there is a meditation titled “The Experience of Love.” The words reached a place deep within my being. Perhaps it was the space in which I found myself. It has been over a year since we have had regular services in the sanctuary and sitting there and reading Thurman’s words, not only resonated within, but reminded me of how much I was missing worship-ping, in person, with my Lakeshore family. Make no mistake; we have been worshipping each Sunday and meeting together in various studies throughout the week. This has helped to keep me, and just speaking for myself, grounded, hopeful, and motivated. Yet the words and the surroundings that day touched a place deep within; a place and feeling I didn’t know existed until I read and reflected on Thurman’s words:

“Behold the miracle! Love has no awareness of merit or demerit; it has no scale by which its portion may be weighed or measured. It does not seek to balance giving and receiving. Love loves; this is its natures. But this does not mean that love is blind, naïve, or pretentious…Here is no traffic in sentimentality, no catering to weakness or to strength…such an experience is so fundamental in quality that an individual knows that what is happening to him can outlast all things without itself being dissipated or lost.”

He goes on to write, “No created thing, no single unit of life can be the source of such fullness and completeness…there is but one word by which its meaning can be encompassed – God.” This is more than likely the reason seeing the young people and some parents last month in the church for the first time in months, brought me to tears – joyful tears of course. Is this how God’s love works? Our relation to one another, our care and concern for one another, transcends boundaries of blood or family ties.

There are many lessons that we will end up taking away from this past year. One of them for me is that the bonds of love we experience as a family in Jesus are held together by God’s love for us. Or as Thurman writes: “There is no thing outside ourselves, no circumstance, no condition, no vicissitude, that can ultimately separate us from the love of God and from the love of one another.”

In hopeful expectation,
Pastor Carolyn