Friday, August 3, 2012

To Love Is To Be

Two of my housemates moved out this week and another will move out on Sunday. They're all moving far away: Los Angeles, Princeton, New Jersey, Denver. It seemed appropriate that I stumbled across this quote on a friend's blog:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one...Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis' insights are always astute, even poignant.

Astute observations are also why I appreciate my pastor. He preached on Ephesians 3:14-21 this past Sunday where Paul prays that the Ephesians may be filled with "all the fullness of God" (19). I imagine Paul knew a thing or two about saying goodbye to people. He spent at least two years in Ephesus and writes beautiful prayers on behalf of the Ephesians. Paul wants them to fully comprehend the "love of Christ that surpasses knowledge."

In his sermon, my pastor explored what the fullness of God might look like. He said he had always assumed that God's fullness meant blessings and good and prosperity. But if we look at the life of Christ, there is also hardship and betrayal and anger and grief. Since Christ embodied the fullness of God in human form, my pastor concluded that for our lives to overflow with the fullness of God we must also embrace "every emotion on the continuum of the human experience," joy, sorrow and everything in between.

I just noticed in the verse that the fullness of God is fundamentally rooted in love. Paul prays that we will "know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God." We won't be filled with the fullness of God until we know the love of Christ.

And, ironically, love invites brokenness. The love of Christ ended in death.

Brokenness hardly ever seems like fullness. I'm always surprised when love ends in grief, in separation, in sacrifice. I expect love to be easy, to fix all the problems. But human love will never do that. And yet somehow, even as humans, we experience the fullness of God when we embrace love-giving-way-to-brokenness.

And ultimately, this is the only way we can know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. This is the only way we will be filled with all the fullness of God.

Because someday brokenness will give way to love.

And we will meet the Source of Love himself.

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