The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Sunday, February 03, 2019

The Love of God: the Family of God

What does the phrase 'God is Love' mean to you? Two obvious questions might immediately surface in your mind here; 'Who IS God?' & 'What IS Love?' Both of these queries have been confronted in this blog, at least, in a manner of speaking, but, assuming that not everyone has read those posts or garnered those bits of information; let us entertain both questions for a bit. First of all, 'Who is God?' Well, presuming that one is a Christian, the answer should be obvious, especially if one is at all familiar with the Bible, in particular, I John 4:8. The fore-mentioned phrase come directly from this passage. According to the Bible, of course then, 'God' is the God of the Hebrews, the same 'God' ( Elohim ) that created man in His own Image. Now, to one who is not a Christian, the term 'God' may have a slightly different connotation; for instance, our American bank-notes, both paper & coinage, ( still ) sport the phrase, 'In God We Trust'. While the majority of Americans ( 75-80% ? ) may claim to be Christian; by their lifestyles, it is fairly clear that their 'God' looks more like their family, their job, their position, or just plain 'the Almighty Dollar', rather than the God of the Bible. This is not to say that these things are any less important, in the grand scheme of things, than the 'God' of the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures; the point is, everyone has at least a slightly different perception of Who, or even What, this Being ( if you can even name It that ) is that we are so used to calling 'God'. Though those of Islamic faith call It 'Allah' & see 'Him' in a slightly different light than the 'God' of the Hebrews; does that make 'Him' any less 'God' ( to the Muslim ) than the 'God' of the Christian faith; the Jewish faith?

Okay, so 'What is Love?' While the term 'God' may cover a wide spectrum, surely 'Love' is an easy one! Sorry, but no; Love, while like 'God', is what IT is, It also has come to mean many different things to many different people. Most popularly, it would seem, 'Love' is no more than a feeling, probably more akin to 'lust'. To others, in particular those of the Christian persuasion, 'Love' is more of an active proposition, wherein one chooses to do this instead of that, treating their fellow human beings as they themselves would like to be treated. Even the Christian Bible, though, seems to divide 'Love' into several ( or so ) different categories: 'agapaō', 'thelō'& 'phileō'.  Love, however, is more than a proposition, an idea that one might formulate in their mind; Love is in fact infinitely more than any ( one ) Being: Love is what we ARE! As human beings, one might be hard-pressed to agree with this statement, but it is not so much as human beings that we manifest this state of Being; it is by transcending our humanity, going Beyond it, so to speak, that we find this glorious Reality. Yes' 'God' IS Love & so are WE!

How do we, as human beings, experience 'the Love of God out-poured'? That, again, should be fairly plain; it is through 'His' People that we experience 'Love'! When we pray (to 'God' ) for this or that, it is usually, if not always through some human intervention that our wishes/needs are met, assuming we ask in the right spirit. This is not to say that 'God' does not not act supernaturally ( on our behalf ), but more often than not, the reason that the 'prayer of a righteous man avails much' is that other righteous men & women hear that prayer, whether directly or indirectly ( through the Spirit Within/Holy Spirit ) & do all within their power to meet that need/wish, out of Love, not just because of an affinity for that individual, but because they are themselves Love!

In order to understand this Glorious Fact, that we are, in Essence, Love, we must transcend our humanity; not that we become something more than human, but by realizing that we already ARE more than just human beings! We are primarily spirit beings inhabiting biological bodies, or 'shells' if you will. 'What you see' is in some sense what you get, for what you see IS what we, in our individuality, manifest, but when we choose to 'let it be', rather than striving with our Higher Self, our True Self, or Nature ( spirit beings ), we manifest Love. Even the Christian Scriptures say, 'everyone who loves is born of God and knows God'!

Yes, 'God is love'; It's that simple! Then again, it can mean different things to different people. Not that this changes the Glorious Fact ( as we've seen ), for both the terms 'God' & 'Love' are what they are, no matter what meaning or identity we strive to attach to them.In fact of the matter, one might well say that 'God' & 'Love' are interchangeable terms, as in, 'God is Love' & 'Love is God'! So, in a manner of speaking, does one have to acknowledge the 'God' ( Elohim ) of the Bible in order to rightly love one's self or their neighbor? You be the judge, but it's pretty clear that, while not all who don't acknowledge the Christian 'God' do not manifest Love, neither do all who acknowledge the Christian God manifest Love! Can a Muslim manifest Love? Again, you be the judge, but if a Muslim DOES manifest Love, does that not mean he or she is born of 'God' ( Child of God )? Whether a person chooses to manifest the Love that he or she IS, or not, does not change the Glorious Fact of what they ARE. Sadly, many in  our sordid past & present have chosen not to manifest that Love & the world has suffered many unnecessary horrors because of it. Only when we understand that we are More than this humanity will we begin to consistently manifest the Love we truly are!

Charles Haddon Shank

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