LOVE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN RELATIONSHIP
(Thursday, December 22nd)
Detach: to separate especially from a larger mass and usually without violence or damage; disengage; withdraw
Depend: to place reliance or trust
Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other, but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NRSVUE)
I have a practice of choosing a word to describe my hopes and guide my actions for the year ahead, and for 2023, I am considering a few words that describe reentering community. Since the pandemic, my naturally introverted self has grown quite accustomed to isolating at home, away from crowds and parties and public spaces and worship services. Initially, the isolation was a necessity for protection; now the isolation has become my choice for comfort, convenience, familiarity, and at times, laziness. I enjoy my solitude, slower pace, and simpler living.
But I am missing the gifts of being in community – both the joys and the challenges. Love is best shared and strengthened, best tried and tested, best formed and fostered in relationship.
Our Advent Love today is the Love revealed by God becoming incarnate in Jesus – the desire of God to live and love in our community of humanity. God is not detached from us, but ever-present among and within us. God is here for us to depend on, and God invites us to depend on one another. Two are better than one…
We may be independent and self-sufficient, but we are called to serve one another. We may be introverted, but we are called to meet together. We may be comfortable, but we are called to look out for the needs of others. Love is softened when it is shared. Love is strengthened when it is stretched. Bonds of love are built when we learn to depend on God and one another, when we recognize how much we need God and one another.
May the Advent Love of God-with-us, God who will never detach from us, increase our desire for and our dependence on community.
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25 NRSVUE)