Three Short Paragraphs
A Rev. Steph Reflection
Advent Week 4…Love
Ode 3:1-5 & 10 - 11
“I put on the love* of the Lord
And his members are with him,
And I am raised up by them, and he
Indeed I would not have known [how]
to love the Lord,
Except that he had continuously loved
Who is able to recognize love
Except one who had been loved?
I cherish the Beloved and my whole self
loves him and
Wherever his rest is, I am also there.”
“*This type of love is deeply intertwined with compassion; meaning changes only with different conjugations.”
“This is the Spirit of the Lord, who is not
Who instructs humanity so that they might recognize his paths.
Be wise, understanding, and awakened
“Recognize” and “Rest” are the two words that stand out for me whenever I read this Ode. Love is definitely an action word, and when we love, we are taking the action of recognizing that Love [The Divine], loves[ii] us. There is no faith without recognition. For how can you believe in something that you don’t recognize. And of course, the ability to recognize love only comes when one has been loved. I can imagine this Ode being penned by a Syrian writer who thought of how significant this moment was for the Shepherds who were visited by the Angels. The Shepherds who returned to their life of sheep herding with recognition that now brings a rest that gives their faith a new course of action within an oppressive Pax Romana society.
And one may ask what does being where the Lord’s rest is looks like? The Ode ends by letting us know that the recognition is not just about seeing how he loves us, personally. It is also about recognizing how we [humanity] can love like the Lord loves.[iii] Resting where love is means being willing to love how God loves, who God loves. It means being able to accept love and give love without letting fear lead the way we love. As we bring this Advent season to an end, let us be like the Shepherds who didn’t run away from the angels or from the blessing in Bethlehem. Let us recognize love and go towards it, so that we actively live in the Lord’s rest.
[i] (Taussig, 2013)
[ii] The type of love that is described in I Corinthians 13:
“4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”