Friday, March 6, 2015

Forgiven all their faults

No one may tell us whom we may or may not love. Not one’s parents (they once did, in the days of arranged marriages), not one’s state (they once did, in the days of racial segregation), not one’s church (they still do, or at least try to). No, not even God. And in reverse order, why not?

God may not, because He gives us free will, and what God bestows even He may not take away. God may tell you whom you may and may not love, only if it is not the living God, but an idol, a man-made god.

Church may not, because she is the presence of Christ on earth, Christ who is the supreme and only liberator and lover of mankind. Church may tell you whom you may or may not love, only if she abandons Christ.

State may not, because it exists solely by the will of the people. State may tell you whom you may or may not love, only if it has ceased to protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of the people it governs.

Finally, people—one’s parents, one’s relatives, one’s neighbors, one’s social or economic class, one’s racial or ethnic group—no, none of these may tell us whom we may or may not love, because they are not us.

Poor, weak, wretched reasoning on both sides, whether proven right or wrong, nothing but nothing and no one may tell us whom we may or may not love.

What, then, are we to do with all the prejudices, taboos, traditions, customs, religions, scriptures, human authorities alive or dead, saints, sinners, champions of Orthodoxy, as well as heretics, who tell us whom we may or may not love?

Precisely nothing.

There is One only who is worthy of love, because He is love walking as a man, Jesus Christ, and all love is directed to Him through those whom we love on earth.

Following Christ, then, following Him closely, as we grow in love the distance between Him and us closes, we draw nearer and nearer, until soon we find ourselves bleeding into each other’s wounds, as we love whom He has given us as Himself.

Then, strictures disappear as the world fades, as it oozes out of the place it had usurped, and we cease to fear, we no longer are afraid of those who weighed, who counted, who measured out, for those who traded in our wills and in our flesh have disappeared.

Though we may have suffered, we made the right choice. Love justifies itself in bringing us home to the haven of invincibility. The lips that commanded and forbade shall have been sliced off, those proud mouths silenced forever. As holy prophet Isaiah sings,

Your eyes are going to look on a King in His beauty,
they will see an immense country.
Your heart will look back on its fears:
where is he who counted,
where is he who weighed out,
where is he who counted the precious stones?
You will no longer see the overweening people,
the people of obscure, unintelligible speech,
of barbarous, senseless tongue.
Look on Zion, city of our feasts…
For Yahweh is our Judge, Yahweh our Lawgiver,
Yahweh our King and our Savior…
The people who live there will be forgiven all their faults.

Isaiah 33:17-20a, 22, 24b Jerusalem Bible

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