Posted by David
The question “what is love” has cycled in my mind since adolescence, as is probably the case with most people. But only in the past eight or so years have I looked at love systematically (if that is possible) due to my reading of C.S. Lewis’ book, The Four Loves, where Lewis describes love as having four manifestations: Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity (Agape/Godly Love). I’m not in a position to argue these particular categories, but I will share some possible insight that emerged tonight at Marimba practice.
A member of our marimba band taught us a new song that she has written. She said it was about “love.” The song is a dynamic with a varied rhythm and is set among two chords, G major and A minor. It’s a very tense song, powerful in mood. There’s an unresolved tension that goes back and forth and never reaches a conclusion. It’s a haunting song.
At first, it said nothing to me about love. At this point in my life I see love as peaceful, joyous and complete, not tense and haunting. To me, love is the manifestation of God in the person of Jesus, where his disciples are connected to his love through the Holy Spirit. This love is of quiet waters.
As we learned the new song, it became clear to me that the song was indeed about love, but some other kind of ‘love’, one that I’ve known but have abandoned. This love wrestles for authority, seeks power over flesh and soul. It masquerades around us with tiptoes and with vigor. This type of love has tunneled at one time or another into all of our hearts and infested our being. This is the love of power.
It’s no wonder that we should be awed and wooed by such a love, for it strokes our sensibilities and feeds our ambitions. It haunts us and we like it. This love is sensational.
The new marimba song was then very true to its title. Varied, dynamic, and haunting, it’s chords and melody spoke about passions, tension and the unresolvable powerplay of love. I felt like a boat on the sea.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
Saint Augustine interpreted the “sea” in Revelations 21 as “the surgings and restlessness of human life.” (The City of God, Book XX, p 377, Augustine.) This is the sea of love of our new marimba song. However, we must distinguish this love from the other one: Agape/God’s love. We mistake them all too often with devastating results.
Thankfully, God’s love is different. God’s love is exactly the opposite of the other love’s restless surgings. God’s love is complete in the person of Jesus. In compassion, he healed. In mercy, he befriended us. In servitude, he went to the cross for the love of us.
This is a quiet love. It’s a love seen by faith and not by senses. It’s the perfect of the two loves.
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends…