Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday in Pentecost, Proper 24: Love operating at a distance

Opening Sentence
Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Psalm 43:3

Sing Your Praise to the Lord

Commemoration: Geoffrey Chaucer
Blessed Lord, who has given us the gift of sexual love, with its joys and cares and complexities and unanswered questions, and has made known to us the duty of keeping promises and of showing justice and good will toward those about us: mercifully grant that, in our human loves, and in our choices concerning them, we may be guided by your commandments and live according to your will; that we and those we love may abide in your gracious protection, and that our loves may be fitting images of the love between Christ and his Church; the which we ask through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 37:1-18

Lessons: Revelation 9:1-12, Luke 10:25-37

I am not told that I am to like my neighbor; I am ordered to love him or her. Luther's explication of our relation to the neighbor brings us close to a right understanding. Our neighbors in the biblical sense, are those persons who live in God's creation with us in the solidarity of our life together on this earth. Though I cannot will myself to feel an oceanic affection for all people, I can acknowledge my bond with the whole of creation. In that bond I am to recognize the authenticity, the thereness, the concrete life and existence of the other.

In the broad context of human solidarity the exercise of love is realized in transaffectional justice. Real love grasps the hand that need holds out. Needs cry out from millions I will never meet. Justice is love operating at a distance. When, for instance, my church tells me that millions of people ares starving and that it is my duty to show my love for them through helpful actions, I become aware of the transindividual meaning of love. I cannot feel any immediate affection for two million people. Love becomes a recognition of the neighbor in his or her need, and takes the transpersonal form of distributed food.

Joseph Sittler
Gravity and Grace

Rescue the Perishing