On love, clanging cymbals, and resounding gongs

We know what love is.
We have seen it.
We have felt it.
Love lives in us.
In our collective life together.
But we lose touch with it, in the noise -
in the clanging cymbals and resounding gongs that surround.

This noise speaks in hate and bigotry, breaking or hardening our hearts to love. But it learns, also, how to speak in our languages of love and unity and tolerance and diversity…using so many good words. Enticing words. Seductive words. They prey on the best of us. Speaking to our good intentions, offering words that make unethical choices feel good enough. At least it's something. As if there's no other way. As if we can't do things differently. As if the power of God in us means nothing. Noise is convincing and persuading - but it is not love.

Without love, it is all just clanging cymbals in our ears, obscuring the wisdom only birthed in silence. It makes it so hard to perceive the voice of God around us - within us. Without love, the feelings within us are silenced. Without love, we move too quickly. We tend to the surface. We miss the roots. Our dreaming becomes narrow and shallow. Without love, we struggle to speak honestly of our own longings. We don't believe anymore that we deserve to be loved better by society - to have more time, more peace, less surveillance, less pressure, more justice. We struggle to take the pleas of our neighbors seriously and to recognize the flesh in front of us as Sacred, deserving to be loved for love’s sake...

But, still, this we know.
This we profess.
This we strive to live by.
Everything else will fade like the day's sun.
Everything else will turn to dust.
Everything built in loyalty to noise will crumble.
But love… love never ends.

And so we nurture it. Intentionally. With care.
In ourselves. In each other. In the earth.
Through prayer and feasting and weeping together.
Through mending relationships and tending to histories of violence - breaking patterns that keep the gongs active.
Creating spaces to listen together to all that has been silenced within. Sifting carefully through what we take-in and put-out. Whatever else, we work to make love our greatest investment.


- Rev. M Barclay, enfleshed