I have been reading Speaking of Religion by Krista Tippet who hosts a NPR Radio program by the same name. It has proved to be good reading for Lent. Late last night, sitting alone in a quiet church, I read these words by candlelight as we entered into this Good Friday;
I forget that love is more important than knowledge all the time. I have forgotten it, willfully, for long stretches of life, and at my peril… And every time I let myself go deeper into the mess and mystery of human loving, I am hit over the head again by theology… an insistence that the love of God is so much fuller than we can usually imagine or take in,…
I keep pursuing faith, if for no other reason than because it is the place in our common life that keeps reminding us of the necessity of love… Not the romantic love of poets, but the practical love of the sacred text… However fraught and imperfect our practice of it may ever and always be.
The desert fathers and mothers offer the supreme and practical comfort in the face of our culture’s confusions: love is not the starting point but the goal. It is not something we are born knowing how to do, not something we fall into. It is something we spend our whole lives learning. ~ Krista Tippett
Loving is not the starting point, but it is the goal. We spend our whole lives learning to love. Love is more important than knowledge. The love of God is so much fuller that we can imagine or take in. Little wonder it takes a lifetime of learning.
Good Friday reminds us of that love of God which is more than we can ask or imagine. Today we ask if we can see ourselves on the cross, and at the same time pounding in the nails? The face of Jesus on this day is a portrait of all who suffer. It is a portrait of those we have sinned against, and it is a portrait of our won suffering. It is a portrait of love.
When Jesus leaves the upper room he heads to Gethsemane via the Kidron Valley. It is a journey through one of the oldest burial sites in the worlds. He literally ‘walked through the valley of the shadow of death’ to his betrayal. Jesus is living out the mess of human loving when he makes that journey. He, like us many times over perhaps, enters into the pain that comes with loving others. Jesus experiences the pain betrayal, abandonment, and rejection. In Jesus’s Passion, God enters fully into the mess that is human loving. In the life and witness of Jesus, in his death and resurrection we are shown that God’s love is beyond our comprehension. If faith were a head experience, we would not follow in the path of The One who would take the road to Calvary. If it was a head experience, the disciples would have bailed after they had been asked to abandon everything and follow. We might exit stage left when told that the greatest among us must become the least.
Love, Love, Love! We heard it last night – “I give you this commandment that you LOVE one another.” Entering to the fullness of what these Three Days has to offer is a gift for me. I pray it is for you as well. It is a powerful reminder to me that God’s name is Love!