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Through Lattice Windows: A Vessel For God's Love

"Sometimes, when you turn things round, you get a different perspective which throws new light on a familiar subject,'' writes Leanne Hunt.

Sometimes, when you turn things round, you get a different perspective which throws new light on a familiar subject. This is what happened when I turned around a quote that I came across recently. The quote, attributed to Richard Rohr, went as follows:

"The great thing about God's love is that it's not determined by the object. God does not love us because we are good. God loves us because God is good. It takes us our whole lives for that to sink in because that's not how human love operates."

The piece went on to say that divine love makes no distinction between persons. It is freely given without reference to appearance, performance or preference. In short, it is eminently gracious, requiring only that we surrender to receive it.

All this is wonderful to contemplate, but today I am reflecting on how divine love flows through me to the world. It does flow through me, by faith, because I have offered myself to God as a vessel to be used for spreading His love. And here is the thing that struck me:

I cannot love people unconditionally because it is impossible to do so out of my human nature. But God can and does when I am an open channel. So, it is not a case of me trying to love the homeless, the oppressed or the sick. It is a case of me trying to stay out of the way so that God can love them through me.

Frankly, I don't know how this happens. I cannot prepare for it by studying the Bible or attending a seminar. Pitching up at a soup kitchen or hospital may make it easier because I am where the poor and unwell are but pitching up there might also just result in me getting underfoot. Praying about the needs of others may take me a little closer to being a vessel for God's love but, then again, it depends on the attitude with which I pray; whether I think I am capable of manipulating events or whether I accept that God alone moves mountains.

As the above quote says, "The great thing about God's love is that it's not determined by the object." Turn this on its head and you end up with the revelation that the rich and beautiful are just as deserving of God's love as the poor and ugly. In fact, dogs and cats are just as deserving as children and pensioners. Go a step further and you discover that rocks and trees are just as deserving as ships and rockets, and that there is nothing in all creation that is exempt from God's love once it starts to flow.

God's love is passionate. That means it is a suffering love, giving to the point of excruciating pain. It gives and gives and gives, reaching higher and higher, like an orchestra reaching a crescendo, but never reaching its climax; never crossing the threshold into release and satisfaction; never stopping to enjoy a moment of respite. To be a vessel of God's love, then, is to participate in the ongoing pursuit of fulfilment while never quite getting there. Like an asymptotic line, it comes ever closer to connecting with its goal but is eternally kept from it because to connect would be to end life. Life is generated by the almost-there quality of love, which is why it excites us so much when we feel it arising.

And so, here is the mystery: We are called to surrender to God's gift of love so that we might be fulfilled. Yet, once touched by that love, we find that fulfilment as we once envisioned it is impossible. Moved to offer ourselves as living sacrifices so that love can be conducted to others, we find ourselves sharing Christ's passion, suffering the almost-there experience of nearly-but-not-quite satisfaction. And thus, the dream of eternal life is realised.


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