June 16th, 2024

By the Way: Giving in love

By Medicine Hat News on June 30, 2018.

Did you hear about the overprotective parent who packed a lunch for his child? It fed 5,000. But seriously, as I reflect on the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with a little boy’s lunch — two fish and five loaves of bread — I am reminded of a basic principle of the Way of Love. Love gives without critical analysis or assessment and without thought of return. There is also something about an act of selfless giving in love that unlocks a dynamic that brings about miraculous results — granted not always as dramatic as this story illustrates.

To me, this is a reminder and invitation to step outside of the comfort and safety of what is calculable and into the risk of Love. I can see how I approach situations and encounters with others from the perspective of my own resources, interests and skills, which is appropriate in many circumstances, but there are other times, especially when I feel inadequate, that I need to respond in love, and trust that this will be sufficient. Why does that sound so feeble or inadequate to me, sound like a cop-out or an abdication of my responsibilities? Is it because I do not really believe in the power of love? (According to Michael Jinkins, when we say “God Almighty” we proclaim that Love is the greatest power there is, since “God is Love” I John 4:8). Or is it because I am not prepared to undertake the risk of love, a risk that threatens to expose me as foolish, as a dreamer, as an idealist? (Among other things, how foolish did it look for someone to offer two fish and five loaves to feed 5,000? Only something a kid would do! Or a kid at heart, since Andrew, one of Jesus’ disciples, was also involved. Or, come to think of it, only something a God would do.)

In the story, this offering of Love, without calculation, is done in response to a need. Here is the greatest challenge, for me at least. It is especially as I recognize the needs of others that I, anxious to be adequate in my response, assess my ability to respond. If I am right, however, Love does not ask me to be sufficient but to be willing! Am I willing to be willing? Willing to step forward and offer what I am and what I have, even if it seems pitiably (laughably) inadequate? The only way I can do this is to act in faith — not, for sure, a faith in myself, not even faith in Love or the power of Love, but faith in the One Who is Love, the One who calls me to walk as He walked, By the Way of Love.

Rev. Oz.Lorentzen is from St. Barnabas Anglican Church.

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