Handout 1: Source Text for a Theology of Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. — 1 John 4:7-8
One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your hear, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." — Matthew 22:35 - 38
If, upon a return from any of your little visiting excursions, you should behold some beautiful addition to your apparel, or some advantageous alteration in the disposition of the furniture of your chamber, you would take it for granted the hand of affection had been employed, though you was not a spectator of its beneficent operations: So, when you behold the effects, of love, manifested in rain, sun-shine, seed time and harvest, you ought to conclude there is a power divine, thought to you invisible; and further, that that power is all good, all gracious, and all mighty. — Judith Sargent Murray (1782)
Hope looks for the fulfillment of the divine requirements in all whom they are binding. Then will the whole family of [humanity] be filled with love to God and each other; and all hatred, and strife, forever done away. Every wanderer from the fold of the Great Shepherd shall return; and when the last shall be brought in, there will be joy in heaven, unspeakable and full of glory. — Hosea Ballou (1851)
O'Spinner, Weaver, of our lives,
Your loom is love.
May we who are gathered here
be empowered by that love
to weave new patterns of Truth
and Justice into a web of life that is strong,
beautiful, and everlasting. — Barbara Wells,
Love is the spirit of this church,
And service is its law.
This is our great covenant:
to dwell together in peace,
to seek the truth in love,
and to help one another. — James Vila Blake (1894)
I invite you to remember that it is your hands that do the work of love in the world. These hands may hold another's hands. These hands may type emails to politicians, sign cards of consolation and congratulation. These hands may patiently teach, quilt works of beauty or write words urging peace. These hands may bathe children, feed elders, nurse the ill, work the earth, organize communities. These hands clasp in prayer, open in release, grasp in solidarity, clench in righteous anger. These hands are God's hands, your hands, our hands; a great mystery of flesh and intention, a great potential of embodied love. — Christine C. Robinson, Meditation on Hands
Neither shall our minds be affected by this, nor for this matter shall we give vent to evil words, but we shall remain full of concern and pity, with a mind of love, and we shall not give in to hatred. On the contrary, we shall live projecting thoughts of universal love to those very persons, making them as well as the whole world the object of our thoughts of universal love — thoughts that have grown great, exalted and measureless. We shall dwell radiating these thoughts which are void of hostility and ill will. — Buddhist Parable of the Saw
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