LIVING ON THE BORDER

Mark 12:28-34
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

And How Do We Speak of Love

And How Do We Speak of Love

There is a difference between living
on the edge and living on the border.
Edge
connotes something abrupt, precipitous.
Border
suggests next door, a boundary.
I’ve been both on the edge
and along a border,
and they don’t seem the same.
We experience borders all the time,
driving
out of our towns,
going to another county or state,
walking
through a riparian zone,
going
through our daily social functions
and experiencing other’s borders and boundaries,
being
on the border of God’s own land,
that place sometimes
referred to as kingdom,
the place where God dwells.
If, in this text, sacrifice
was understood
as that which purifies
and makes one holy,
then the scholar argues
that loving others as one’s self
also purifies and makes one holy.
Can it be that easy?
Is the act of truly loving
a sacred and purifying act?
Just naturally,
freely,
openly loving others.
Fearlessly sharing with love
the very core of our being,
Because—
no matter what,
no matter who,
no matter how—
we are creatures of love
rooted firmly
in the essence of God’s love
with the knowledge that
there is more than enough to share.
But what does this mean,
loving this way?
How much love do we need to give?
There are theologies and congregations
who hold that
we are all divine and sacred creatures,
yet the followers of that doctrine
many times act
more as if it is only they
that are divine,
and use their divinity
to selfishly get what is theirs,
as if the sacrifices offered
are to come to them.
There are also many
who are still quibbling about
the meaning of neighbor,
or will try to tell you that
love itself can judge negatively
or be proponents of tough love
and turn the notion of the love of God
into a bad Halloween joke.
But I have had a revelation
as to what Jesus actually
means here.
This last week I sat
with my son as he lay dying
in a Hospice bed.
I slept on a mat
on the floor next to him.
Cherie slept on the couch at his feet.
We sat in a chair
and held his hand as he moaned,
and we talked to him to soothe him.
I watched our daughter
hold him,
stroke his hair,
crying and talking softly to him.
I felt a deep pain,
an unthinkable anguish,
rise up within me
each time he twitched and fussed.
I ached throughout my body
as hours stretched into days.
And as I prepared to write this,
as I studied the text,
I realized:
it is this much.
This much
is how
we are supposed to love
ourselves,
our neighbors
our enemies.
Loving others,
enemies and friends,
with a love that feels their pain deeply
in our own bodies
as our own,
this is the love of which Jesus speaks.
Parent and sibling love,
bone of bone,
flesh of flesh,
heart of heart.
This is the love that
“is better than all offerings and sacrifices put together,”
and places us on the border of God’s own land.
This is how God loves us.
This is the love that purifies.
And this is
how deeply we are to love,
not just family,
but each other.

This song, The Time Has Come For Love has become the theme song in the Geyserville Christian Church.

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