I am reading a book for my prayer class called, To pray and to Love by Roberta Bondi.
This week I was really delightfully shocked at Bondi’s comment, “Another characteristic of humility is its abandonment of purity as the main goal of the Christian life” (102). How often I have been taught not to dirty the knees of my pants on my way to heaven – rather than entering into the messiness of love vs. mere dutiful obedience. “Love is not about maintaining an ideology.” I’m saddened that the church has strayed so far from love. As I wrote the other day - this past weekend as I spoke to a Sunday school class re: fear and love within the context of my own journey, one woman came up to me and said, “When you spoke of what fear looks like I only saw my own constricted life. But tell me, how do I let God love me?” This woman has been at church most of her life – why has no one taught or modeled love (and letting themselves be loved) to her when it is the first and second greatest commandments? How did we get so messed up? I am getting angry as I write this – and ashamed of our churches and the lesser “goals” we hold as higher than love! And I do not even have a simple answer for her…because love is messy and I’m sure she has a mess of shame and habits and wounds that block her being able to receive.
Leonard Sweet said that his inability to receive is his greatest disability. I concur – I am needy, and oh so stubborn to be less than self-sufficient. I am protective, and oh so longing to be loved. I am hesitant to join community – yet desirous of connection. I am desirous to see my neighbors – the Baha’i gal, the yuppie, cynical couple whose cigarette smoke nightly invades my space and the desperate young woman giving away her soul to sleep with her boyfriend, the lonely divorced folk, the gay couple – (even here I label and am judgmental – Oh Lord have mercy!) I long for them to know this love that is liberating – for it to heal and cast out fears and dissolve hardness of heart.
Lord teach me how to walk in love. I have so much to learn. Thank you that you are in no rush! You are my shepherd, I shall not want – not even want to be more spiritual because love has no schedule. I love you Lord!