When that kicks in – loves checks out

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I think loving me the hardest of all.  I don’t mean the “I can’t be bothered.” … the “I could never do that.” … the “Let someone else do it.”   Nor do I mean the “I am better than anyone else.”… the “I have rights.” … the “What about me.”

I mean loving me as I would love my own child … my own partner … that stranger in need … that best friend I have known for ever … that special someone I would walk over hot coals for …

That kind of “loving me”.

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The greatest of these.

God?  Well loving God comes in all shapes and sizes.  Initially like a stranger who must be obeyed.  Then, perhaps, as a wonderful deity who can only be worshipped and praised.  Then, maybe, the most important relationship in my life.  Then, possibly, a friend – a best friend.  No longer the detached “up there” gaseous ether.  Now someone I trust.  Not to “fix things” all the time.  That is my role – just like no friend expects me to “fix things” in every part of their life.  That would be just plain weird!  Just someone who will always think the best of me.  Never give up on me.  Always have an ear for me.

I heard someone who does daily marathons for a living say that we rarely – if ever – really know what we are each capable of.  I think that lack of knowing underpins this “The Greatest of these” …

Others?  Well loving others is pretty easy too.  An odd donation … I am praying for you … My thoughts are with you … perhaps even a volunteering of my time – my skills – my resources – my heartbeats – perhaps even my whole diary!  Which is like giving my life for you (the “others” we must love).  Except that is a weird kind of love.  It’s an obligation kind of love.  A duty kind of love.  A service kind of love.  A bit like a God kind of love.  I should (if I am a good Christian).

I heard someone say that “We are a broad church”.  That the buildings aren’t “it” that “we are” it.  But I still don’t really know what “it” is.   Or why I am expected to go to “it”.   I think “it” gets in the way of “The Greatest of these” …

And then me.

What I have found over the years is that when I consciously register that I am “doing” love (in whatever moment of my life and with whoever that moment is with) … It is no longer love.  It is me “giving”.

And I have learned that when I think “giving” I think “getting” (in some weird default can’t control it kind of way).  I have found that when this “The Greatest of these” is a “commandment” … giving AND getting become involved.

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And when that kicks in – loves checks out.

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And as I absorb the essence of (what I think) is the point of the bible … I find that “commandment stuff” less and less relevant.  Along with all this “transaction” faith we have created … The need to sign-up for the creeds stuff.  The “I believe” stuff.  The hierarchy stuff.  The “institution” stuff.  The “religion” stuff which includes creation and sin and a lot of deaths and more sin and atonement through more killing innocent creatures bred for the purpose of “their blood shed for me”.

And then the great “reset”. 

The cross and resurrection – and a conundrum.  The “blood shed for me” being the biggie – with the “resurrection” being the proof it’s all good.  Because if the blood is “it” then why the need for the resurrection?  And if the resurrection is “it” why the need for the killing and blood?  there is loads of healing and bringing others back to life – loads of “your sins ore forgiven”  – all without a cross in sight …

And why the “facts and evidence” we have now made all of this.  The “But God Says” (in the bible).  And the bible is The Word of God (but the Koran isn’t).  Nor is (just) the Old Testament.  Nor is  the continuous political meddling relevant – other than it proves the bible IS God inspired (really???).

Why that “need” for the bible to be “it” – unless it is so the church can be “it” – which means I get to be “it” by being saved and believing in all of “it”?

The Greatest of these.

Two words have become more and more powerful in my journey with The Greatest of these …

“I Am”.

I

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Am

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The Greatest of these is I and Am.

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(what else can top that?)

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This is always a me thing

I have read many blogs written by those who have lived the reality of being seen and treated as a “them”. A lot of those blogs are of mental illness, others of suicide, some of this and some of that.  And all of them have one thing in common:

Love.

Love is the common thread connecting each of those blogs: the love of a parent, of a child, of friends and acquaintances and of strangers … Of love lost and love found, love that hurts so bad and love that builds, love that is the only thing keeping that person going … And love that lives beyond death …

One such post was “What IF?” – I reblogged it yesterday here because it asked the question:  “What if The Church of Jesus Christ was a leader in showing the world how to support those who are suffering from mental illness in the exact same way they lead the world in how to support those who are suffering from any other form of trial, tribulation or persecution?  What if I could feel at ease to raise my hand in a Sunday School class and say: “Please pray for me. I’m going through a very bad flare of my OCD, and I’m experiencing a great deal of mental pain every waking minute of every day.”

And then today I read this: “All the People who Didn’t Know Me”  “Truthfully speaking, the only real difference between me today is that I take care of more people and have a place to live. That is the only separation I had when I was homeless. Yet, the treatment I received then as opposed to now is like night and day. The only real difference is how people treated me (then) than now.”

This “treating people differently” is not exclusive to Church.

Church is people and people are the ones treating other people differently.  There are people of faith and no faith all over the world in every country and locality.  Treating people differently happens on social media, between friends, and frequently in families.

Treating people differently is not exclusive to “Church”.  But what is exclusive to Church is this …

“Love Me, love your neighbour (like “everyone and always and everywhere”) as you love yourself (like “all of you and always and everywhere).”  Because all else rests on this, all else grows from this, all else is this (or is not).

That is exclusive to Church … and the Church is people and only people can show the world (and each locality and street and family) that every person is loved, and all are inclusive of this unconditional love.

Because what is also exclusive to Church … THAT commandment IS quoted and idolised … THAT commandment IS the very essence of Church the building … Church the establishment … Church the people.

And what is also exclusive to “Church” … when that ownership and pride in THAT ”commandment” is shown to be a mask … of (fake) “Christian smiles” (changing to gossip and bad-mouthing) … of (public) “turn the other cheek” (really being private complacency) … of the reality of this commandment being a “switch it on and switch it off love”

Then trust is absent and integrity is absent because LOVE is absent … The very LOVE that Church exclusively names as its own in the “greatest of all commandments” (on which all else rests).

So treating others differently might not be exclusive to church …  But NOT treating anyone differently SHOULD BE exclusive to Church.

There is no hiding place.  Because God Jesus never set the bar too high.

Each Christian who reads the bible and thinks-says-preaches “this IS the greatest commandment of all” is “setting the bar” for themselves (and every other “Christian”).

I did that – I still do – because the greatest commandment of all is not work – neither burden – or ever sacrifice.   It cannot be switched on or off – because love has no switch to flick.

Which means this is not “a Christian thing” – it is not even a God thing.  This is always a me thing.

And it is an honour and a privilege to be entrusted with something so wonderfully connecting and liberating for, and with, each and every person.   Love returns much more than I can ever give.  That is why love is always the answer.

So will someone explain to me how THAT has that been turned into a heavy cross of burden to pick-up each day” – because that means there is a switch to flick.

And there isn’t.

There never was.

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