Saturday, October 1, 2011

Love never dies - The cloud of witnesses

The sequel for The Phantom of the Opera is called Love Never Dies, which, despite the fact that I would never go see this show the title is very true. Love never dies and there's a few things I'd like to touch on when it come to God, Love and about those who are no longer with us.

Love is very important because it is considered a major (if not the major) attribute of God. How often have you heard people sing, say, write God is Love. How is God Love? Well, if you ask the theologians about this you will get an explanation that involves the interpenetration of God-self within the trinity. The Father loves the Son and the Spirit and the Son loves the Father and Spirit and the Spirit the spirit loves everyone too. It is a perfect loving community, sharing and loving in perfect intimacy. God has love before we came along then Love existed before creation before you and me. He has no need for us to have love, don't think that God has love because of you. God loved first, he always loves first in fact that's a good thing for us.

Jesus in the beatitudes says that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you. When you love you can love and not have it given back to you. Like God who gives and receives love within God-self when we give love it is expected to be returned back to you. In fact when it is not given back and you continue to give love its quite exhausting. Most people cannot sustain love in this situation when it is not returned if you do I think its called an abusive relationship. In the face of this Jesus says Love your enemies, but they really wont return this love, will they? Edward Schillebeeckx gives an example that the love that God gives us can take the place of the love we give to those who will not return it. So does that mean we rely on God to love us in the place of those who will not, not always. There is a limit because abuse is always wrong. What it does do is point to God as the major source of love for us. God's love available for us always and forever. We should live knowing that God's love is always there for us. It is continuos it is that same love always given to those who accept it, all of those throughout all of history.

Love never dies. So what happens to those who are not here anymore? Jesus while being crucified says to the guy on his right “Today you'll be with me in paradise.”. Jesus also tells us that there are many mansions prepared for us. This is when those reading who follow the escapist doctrine of rapture and those who take heaven as the bodiless spiritual destination are going to not agree with me. The situation of the paradise and the mansions is the place for those who believe go to after death before the new bodies they and we will get when Christ come again. Revelation makes mention of the dead in Christ who call out from under the throne for Jesus to set all things right, judge the world and renew and heal all of creation. Paul uses the term cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 21:1 that are cheering us on. I mention them not in passing but because I'd like you all to get into your heads that if love never dies then the love of those who are no longer with us is still there. These people who we love still love us they are part of the cloud of witnesses who cheer us on. Think of the biggest stadium you have seen full with players on the field. We who are alive are still on the field and those not on this earth are in the stands cheering you and I on. Their love is not gone and lost neither is yours for them. We cannot speak to them nor they to us, who can hear a single person from the stands in the middle of a football match. What we do receive is their love by God through Holy Spirit in us.

They see us and are proud of us in our endeavours they can see the field of play and they cheer us on. I say this because we need to know that their love is always there and they know we love them. Because Love never dies it always returns. God's love is so big so amazing that all of this is possible because of his love. There are those who see God as a shining light a bright wondrous thats just one way of seeing God. Thomas Merton says God is an abyss that in God there are depths that are unfathomable. This is how deep and long and wide God's love is, an abyss of love. Love that will never end, that always gives, love will always be there. How does the children's song go? Wide wide as the ocean, high as the heavens above, deep deep as the deepest sea is my saviours love. I though so unworthy, still I'm a child of his care. For his love teaches me that his love reaches me EVERYWHERE. This is just it love reaches everywhere. Love never dies because God is Love and love has ALWAYS been. Before creation there was love and after this world is reborn there will still be love. This love is available to you always and forever why hide from it?


Ross said...

Hi Phil,

I thought I'd do you the honour of leaving a comment on your blog.

captain koma said...

thanks Ross.

Rosie said...

I was kind of hoping that this would be a review of the musical...but your thoughts about the cloud of witnesses were good too. :) An inspiring image that is good to be reminded of.