1 John 4:8, 7,9-12,18-21
God Is Love
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Love = Greek agape = unconditional love = being willing to give up everything in hopes of bettering another’s well-being with no expectation of reciprocity,
Affection as per Homer
Agape = unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance. It goes beyond just the emotions to the extent of seeking the best for others.
Tertullian remarks in his 2nd century defense of Christians that Christian love attracted pagan notice: “What marks us in the eyes of our enemies is our loving kindness. ‘Only look,’ they say, ‘look how they love one another
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love (agapēseis) your neighbor (those around you) and hate your enemy (those you hate or are hated by (mistreated).’ But I say to you, Love (agapāte) your enemies (wish those well who don’t agree with you) and pray for those who persecute you (verbalize best wishes to those who mistreat you), so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven (represent unconditional love, which is only visible in potential futures); for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Love treats all so to improve their well-being, regardless of mistreatment towards you) For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? (Treating those well who treat you well is easy, everybody’s doing it! What’s hard is doing good for those we hurt you.) — Matthew 5:43-46, RSV
Agapē/unconditional love is the death of God. God’s surrender into the world. kenosis. God’s disappearance into the abyss. God’s embrace of anonymity.
Of course the ultimate example of this agape love is the incarnation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I’m not, however, simply referring to some entitie’s temporary split from self in order to pay some blood money demanded by itself. I’m referring to a quite different reading of this event. (Event, of course, being a philosophical term referring to a happening that changes everything. A disruption to the status quo. A rearrangement of life, after which it can not be put back together. An apocalypse. Yes! That’s it. God is love, means God is that which embraces it’s own complete rearrangement into the unrecognizable, even to itself, for the sake of the other. (The other, to God, of course being us. The creation.)
Let me stop rambling, and get to it. The Myth called the Apocalypse of God.
The figure known to us as god resides in perfection and peace. Nothing is out of bounds. Which, of course, is because nothing exists. Sweet peace.
Until peace is no longer peaceful. It become quite unbearable, to be frank. So this figure known to us as god ends their perfect peace and surrenders a bit of itself saying, ‘Let their be.’ And there is. And perfect peace parts it’s path from this (un)place.
This is the first event. The beginning of the material.
Ages pass. Civilizations rise. And fall. And the figure we know as God paces just out of sight. But every now and again we experience the wrath of said being. Then continue as normal. Eventually this figure we know as God breaks their silence and shouts from the ‘up there,’ “You’re doing it wrong! Here’s some rules. This will help.” We all lose it, of course. Voices from ‘up there’? Who wouldn’t lose it? Anyway after we receive the rules, we continue as normal. “Okay,” muses the figure we know as God or is it the voice from ‘up there’?, “You have to kill your animals, when you do bad things. That’ll guilt you into doing it right.” We abide by the demands of the voices, but continue as normal.
Finally the figure we know as God or the voice from ‘up there.’ Realizes the truth. Nobody learns from anonymous loud demands, I’ll become one of them.
So the figure we know as God empties themself into the material world. Into a human body. Vacates their safety and embraces their apocalypse. This is the second event of God.
They then proceed to teach us about the journey of agape they’ve been and are on. And the people are enthralled! (Who wouldn’t be in at at the idea that we can be free from the demands of the powerful?)
But the powerful are not enthralled! So they reject the other. The strange. They reject love. They kill God. This is the death of God. The absolute apocalypse of the Almighty. The third event of God.
The end. It is finished.
Oh wait. Here’s the punchline. Be love. Be willing to forsake everything for the bettering of those around you. Be disciples of love, and embrace your own apocalypse. When we do this we allow the fourth event of God. The Resurrection. This is the kingdom of God. Which you now know is that place in which a willingness to give up one’s way for another is the norm. This is love.
Where two or three are gathered in my name (for love) I am there.
‘wherever you get together to be love, you’re already doing it.’