Tumbling in the Sand
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” – 1 John 4:18
I believe that I can say with absolute certainty that none of us has reached perfection in love. We all find ourselves bound up in fear, at least sometimes. Even the most fearless of us.
And, sometimes, I think that love causes us to be afraid — afraid for another, afraid for the loss of another.
So, maybe I don’t actually even agree with this statement from the author of 1st John. Or maybe I just don’t know what perfect love looks like.
I sure know what fear looks like:
Fear of people just because of the color of their skin.
Fear of police officers that could misuse their authority to harm rather than protect.
Fear of the power of protest.
Fear of chaos and uncertainty.
Fear of the world changing.
Fear of the world staying the same.
Fear of the violence of the other.
Fear of those who believe differently than you.
Fear of polydoxy rather than uniformity.
Fear of maybe being wrong.
Fear of lawyers and taxes and government.
Fear of not having enough.
Fear of not being in control.
Fear of things not being like they used to be.
Fear of not getting our way.
So, what kind of love can cast out these fears? What perfect love can release us from the fear that binds us and divides us and hurts us?
I’m thinking it must be a pretty spacious love.
A love open to listening.
A love open to letting go.
A love open to trusting.
A love open to differences.
I’m thinking it must be a pretty generous love.
A love that gives freedom.
A love that gives life.
A love that gives forgiveness.
A love that holds nothing in reserve.
I’m thinking it must be a pretty creative love.
A love that looks for new things.
A love that creates ways from no way.
A love that builds up what was torn down.
A love that forges beauty out of brokenness.
A love makes life out of death.
I’m thinking that it must be a pretty holy love.
Maybe one like we saw overturning tables in the temple and washing feet.
Maybe one like we saw feeding multitudes and praying in solitude.
Maybe one like we saw reaching out a wounded hand to Thomas and breaking bread with fearful disciples.
Maybe one like we saw on the cross and at the empty tomb.
And I’m thinking that this love—
I’m thinking that we need a whole lot more of it.
I’m thinking we need to practice it.
I’m thinking we need to pray for it.
I’m thinking this love might well be just waiting for us,
to really set us free.