Posted by: matt25 | May 18, 2009

Love, Community, and the Good Life

According to Bertrand Russell “The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” I tend to agree.

We hear a great deal about, that so often misunderstood word, love. Love in the ancient Mediterranean world generally signifies a kind of group bonding and attachment. It refers to a state of being firmly embedded in the community, recognizing mutual obligations, and remaining attached to the group in spite of personal or political differences. This is in keeping with a society that was hugely more based on communal values and insights than the individualistic and self absorbed one we are used to living in.

This is underscored by the knowledge that the Greek verb to abide or remain (menw) is used constantly (53 times!) in the Gospel according to John. It expresses a desire for loyalty and group cohesion, and gives an important clue to us about the radical nature of this community, about its feeling of being outside the mainstream, and about its preoccupation with keeping community members together.

These are lessons that we must learn and incorporate into our lives if we are to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a post-modern nihilistic culture that is increasingly hostile towards any who dare to speak up against the gospel of the politically correct. For it is only by remaining in community and boldly speaking the truth in love that we can hope to be a light in the darkness and the leaven we are called to be in our society. It is the only way we can dialogue with our friends and families to become ambassadors of this culture of love we wish to create and it is the only way that we will be able to live the good life.

These thoughts were inspired by the Lectionary Readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter and the research of liturgist, composer and dynamic speaker, Tom Conry.

Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48
Psalm 98:1-4
1 John 4:7-10
John 15:9-17

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