Readings from Victoria’s sermon, “Those Who Abide in Love Abide in God,” July 22nd, 2018. In her talk, Victoria paired writings from poets, authors, and theologians with bible passages related to love.
Wishful Thinking, from Listening to Your Life, by Frederick Beuchner
The first stage of love is to believe there is only one kind of love.
The middle stage is to believe that there are many kinds of love
and that the Greeks had a different word for each of them.
The last stage is to believe that there is only one kind of love….
To lose yourself in another’s arms, or in another’s company,
or in suffering for all who suffer – to lose yourself in such ways is to find yourself.
That’s what it’s all about. That’s what love is.
And from the gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 16:
Jesus said, “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
From Love Does That, by Meister Eckhart
All day long a little burro labors,
sometimes with heavy loads on her back
and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only burros.
And worries, as we know,
can be more exhausting than physical labor.
Once in a while a kind monk
comes to her stable and brings a pear,
but more than that,
he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears
and for a few seconds
the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,
because love does that.
From the gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 11.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
From The Inner Voice of Love, by Henri Nouwen
Do not hesitate to love, and to love deeply.
You might be afraid of the pain deep love can cause.
When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die,
your heart will be broken.
But that should not hold you back from loving deeply.
The pain comes from deep love
that makes your love ever more fruitful.
It is like a plow that breaks the ground
to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant.
When your love is truly giving and receiving,
those whom you love will not leave your heart
even when they depart from you.
They will become part of your self
and thus gradually build a community within you.
Those you have deeply loved become part of you.
The longer you live, there will always be more people to be loved by you
and to become part of your inner community.
From the Book of Romans, Chapter 8.
For I am convinced their neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor height, nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From The Love Poems of May Swenson, by May Swenson
In Love Made Visible
In love are we made visible
As in a magic bath
to the sharp pit
so long concealed
With love’s alertness
the soundless whimper
of the soul
behind the eyes.
A shaft opens
and the timid thing
at last leaps to surface
with full-spread wing
The fingertips of love discover
more than the body’s smoothness
They uncover a hidden conduit
for the transfusion
of empathies that circumvent
the mind’s intrusion.
In love are we set free;
and flesh no longer insulate us
to ourselves alone
We are released
and flow into each other’s cup
Our two frail vials pierced
drink each other up.
From Song of Songs, Chapter 8:
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
Remember, by Joy Harjo
Remember the sky that you were born under, know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the strongest point of time.
Remember sundown and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled to give you form and breath. You are evidence of her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth, whose skin you are: red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth, brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them, listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the origin of the universe.
Remember that you are all people, and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe, and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
From Psalm 100.
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing!
Know that the Most High is God.
It is God who made us, and to God we belong.
We are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.
Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and into God’s courts with praise.
Give thanks to God. Bless God’s name, for the Lord is good.
God’s steadfast love endures forever;
and God’s faithfulness to all generations.
From The House at Pooh Corner, by A.A. Milne
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
From the Book of Ruth, Chapter 1:
Ruth said, “Intreat me not to leave thee,
or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.