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  • Writer's pictureGODVERSITY

A Gem from C. S. Lewis

4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 RSV

These words of St. Paul describing love are true for love in all its manifestations among people, be they friend or family, lover, or even simply our neighbors. Love is also clearly more than just a feeling, something we are called upon to do, even for people we do not particularly like. About this, the reformer John Calvin said, “…(L)ove is not innate in us, for we all have a natural tendency to love and care for ourselves, and to seek our own interests….” And, “Love is the only cure for such a perverted tendency, for it makes us ignore our own circumstances, and be really concerned about our neighbors, loving and caring for them.”

When we speak of love, it is easy to think of what we feel for our children, or for our lover or spouse. We LIKE them, a lot! Being patient and kind, not being rude, etc., makes us feel good. It is rewarding to us. However, if an expectation about a loved one goes awry, then we feel much worse than we would about any of our neighbors. Even something as simple as a dinner date between lovers suddenly being cancelled because one of them unexpectedly must work late, can foul a mood. And to prevent that, we typically become even nicer.

But what of the neighbor we don’t even know, who is just someone we have no other feelings for? C. S. Lewis, in one of his most profound essays, “The Weight of Glory”, discusses this very thing. If we are Christians, we are destined for glory. Lewis says, “It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

And that is the key. You have never talked to a mere mortal.There are no ordinary people.

Including you.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, help me to love the way I should love, those whom I already think of as my loved ones. And in like manner, help me to love those whom I may not even have met yet. To always keep in mind that they are your children, that there are no ordinary people, and that one day we will all be neighbors in heaven. In your holy name I pray, Amen.

Author: Jeffery D. Kooistra


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