Love, and Justice, are bigger themes for February than Valentine's Day. Chocolate, and some odd marketing schemes telling us to buy something expensive to prove our love is not what we’re about. We’re barely into the New Year, a time of putting your “true loves"(commitments/resolutions/passions) at the center of your life. Isn't justice and Love all about "standing on the side of love"? In the midst of February’s cold and dark days, when the promise of spring is just beginning to suggest its return, aren’t we most aware of needing to keep our love of life kindled? Isn’t that when the warmth of loving kindness is most needed?
You get the idea: Love is bigger than the box February’s cupid has built.
Indeed, remembering this larger definition of love has been a primary concern for our faith from the beginning. One might even say that love is what made us who we are as a religion. Or if you want to put a less gracious spin on it, you could say love is what got us kicked out of the Christian club; it’s what made others call us heretics. Simply put, we took the Bible seriously when it said, “God is Love.” We also took Jesus seriously when he said that God is like a loving father. So when others said that God has predestined some of his children to heaven and others to hell, we just couldn’t get our minds around that. How could a loving parent or “Love itself” damn anyone to hell? For our Universalist God, there is nothing a person can do to get outside of the circle of love – no way to escape it or brush it off – and here we are, left with the challenge of making that kind of love real here on earth.
In other words, Love is so much bigger than sharing chocolates and sweet kisses in front of a warm fire. It’s tough stuff. Often leading to the opposite of comfort. It wants to keep pushing our affections out into wider and wider circles. UUism gets this. And so it asks us over and over, “Are you sure your loving is large enough?!”
And here’s another: Have you placed your “true loves” at the center of your life? That too is a question UUism won’t let you escape. Do you know what fills your heart? And what breaks it? Are you living from your loves and passions? Or are you letting others dictate the path of your days?
Putting Love and our “true loves” first. That’s what this month is all about. And hopefully what our lives are about as well.
We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.
We have not come into this exquisite world
To hold ourselves hostage from love.
Run my dear,
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.
-from We Have Not Come To Take Prisoners, by Hafiz, poet and Muslim mystic