A few years back, in one of the churches I was asked to rejuvenate, I was approached by a woman who said, “I’ve been in church for years, and I’m tired of hearing about love, and building relationship stuff. It seems that’s all I hear about in church.” She then said something very interesting, she added, “I want to go deeper.” This got me thinking. You see, as a Pastor I’ve heard this before, and to be honest with you I’m sure the people who say it, don’t know what it means. So, I looked at her and asked her to tell me what she meant by “going deeper.” Her reply was something I didn’t expect, and it confused me even more. She said, “I want to hear about the Old Testament, the law. I want to know how bad I am, and how following the law will help me. I’m tired of hearing about what Jesus says, it doesn’t mean anything to me.” I looked at her as replied, “There is nothing deeper in scripture then love; with the exception of learning to live in love, and building honest relationships. The law’s not going deeper, it’s getting off track.” What I have found over the past is that people who claim they desire to go deeper are people who see getting involved in the lives of people means they attend a two-hour meeting, once a month – and call it good. They are Consumer Christians who demand to be fed, while never taking the opportunity to fed others: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [Matt 20:28]
If we look at the letter Paul wrote to the Hebrews, especially chapter 8, we see Paul contrasting the New Covenant of Christ, with the Old Covenant of Moses. What Paul is saying is, the New Covenant of love, grace, forgiveness, and relationships is superior to the Old Covenant (verse 6):
“But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.”
To truly understand this New Covenant, one must not only hear about love, grace, forgiveness, and relationships, one must live them. Because when we live them, we go deeper. Keep in mind what Paul shares in his letter to the Romans; “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” [Gal 2:21]
Anyone who says that they had spent years in church, and are tired of hearing about love, are not hearing about love, they are not being taught how to live in love. The flow of life is rather simple, it’s the connection between love and relationship; but to think love is not deep means you’re simply not hearing about love, and not living love. It is the flow that connects us to each other, to the Divine, and to ourselves. Let’s see if this helps: Love seeks relationships, relationships seek redemption, redemption seeks peace, peace seeks understanding, understanding seeks grace, grace seeks wanting, wanting seeks love – and the circle continues.
When we focus on love, and building honest, lasting relationships, we seek to do no harm to others – even in an indirect way. If at any point in our walk, we exclude loving others we disrupt the flow; we cause it to breakdown. Still some will ask, ‘It is the Old Law that matter, we just have to make sure we speak the law with love and grace.’ Well, no – because there is no way to speak of the law with love and grace. Many quote Paul’s letter to the Romans [7:7] as proof that the Old Law is still viable, but they forget to quote the rest [7:8-12] where Paul writes that Grace overtake the Old Law, and shows that mixing Law and Grace is like mixing Oil and Water.
Love, [as expressed by Jesus], is to go beyond the self, and into the lives of others. It is to openly, and willingly, touching those in need of touch, and to want to be with those cultures tells us to keep away from. It is to give all we have, and to use all our powers to help those who are hurting, those in need of our understanding, and grace. It’s getting messy in life, with each of us helping clean the mess.
Love, [as expressed by Paul], is based on a list of things, and starts with being patient, and kind; it means we honor those around us, and never seek to get the upper hand, or demand things go our way. When we love others, everyone, we seek to protect them, we trust in them, and we rejoice when we help those in need.
Love, [as expressed by you]…
Love is the force that holds all lives in one, wide, amazing embrace. When we’re unable to love, truly love, we find fault with them. In the inability to love, we express power over others, we believe we know what is right for them, and force them to do as we desire. In love, in the realization that love is the power that drives us all to peace, wanting, caring, forgiving, embracing, we find a wonderful connection between self, others, and the Divine.