There is, from time to time, a sense of God’s love, perhaps even one that we can feel. At other times this feeling is gone and we may have a head- or even a heart-knowledge that the Love is still there, albeit sans feeling. Still, again, there may be times when we’ve done something or when we refused to live up to our best image of ourselves, or perhaps when we are aware that something has gone wrong with our moral compass. We find ourselves in a place further away from Eden than our normal haunts.
Then we may feel like some real person facing our reality show President. You’re fired, we wait to hear. Except when God says it, it’s forever. And we are certain we deserve it.
Jesus says we are to Be perfect as our father in heaven is perfect. The example he gives is that it rains on the just and the unjust, although we know it rains more on the Just – for the unjust has stolen the just’s umbrella. Yet it rains on all. There is food provided for all (even if we refuse to share it). There’s space for all. No one wants to live there, but if the dense population of the island of Manhattan was enlarged to cover the entire states of Texas and Oklahoma, the population of the whole world would live there in no less comfort than in New York City. The whole planet could be left to the dogs – but no one wants to live in Texas – not even the Texans. That’s why there’s air conditioning: so they can pretend they live in San Francisco.
Be perfect. Be whole – as God is whole. God is not divided, God has only one action: love. It’s not a reaction: there is no other possible motion from the Prime Mover than Love. But unbounded, eternal his merciful Love, will feel like pure torture to a masochist.
Psalm 135 (136 in the Hebrew numbering) is a testament to God’s mercy. Every line is “because his mercy endures for ever”. “Ki l’olam khasdo” or in Latin, quoniam in aeternum misericordia ejus.
But it might not sound like merciful love to us… for God drowns Pharaoh in the sea (because his mercy is everlasting) and slays kings (because his mercy is everlasting) and there’s a couple named as dead, Og and Sihon (because God’s mercy is everlasting). Yet everything God does is love: not for one people, not for one nation, not for one Church, but with the purpose of bringing the whole world to himself.
We can all come: it will all be through Jesus, through Israel, through our first parents for there is no other way. One is either dancing inward in the great spiral dance to Godwards or else one is dancing away. As God’s only action can only ever be love, so our every reaction will either be lovewards or away from love. This is not only our steps to the music but our actions with the other dancers. We are either in love with all, or we are not. We must be head over heels in love (as is God) or we are failing to love.
We can feel it so strong that we have to weep and fall into sin just to protect our sense of reality, to hide from God in the garden. We must learn this love, must learn to live and move and have our being in this love. God will not be waving tiny, angry fingers at us on Judgment day. But if we have not learned how to love – learned from Love himself… will we be able to tell the difference?
Be perfect as your Father is perfect.
Be love as your Father is love.
Love is all there is.