Love. Certainly, a word of the moment.
What do we really mean when we use this word about our clothes, our cat or dog, let alone our holidays or even our house…and then lump it all with “I love my children”. Other languages have many shades of expressions and some have different words. The scholars tell us that Jesus used three different expressions when asking Peter “do you love me?”
- Seeking an answer in the Platonic sense
- Seeking an answer in the Filial sense
- Seeking a response to “a willingness to die for me kind of love”.
It becomes complicated when we simply say in English: “I love you”. Yes, “maybe or what do I love” and, at the periphery, the media encourages the mind to always move in the sexual direction.
It may be helpful to remember that by the time of Jesus, the scholars of Israel had identified 613 precepts of the Torah. How could a pious Jew keep those let alone the average battler? Our modern society seems headed in the same way. Good government is sometimes equated with “we passed thirty-five pieces of legislation this term, set up a new department to enforce the new laws and added to the pile of red tape”. Sometimes this simply strangles the life of the community. I think many in Israel would have felt quite at home in modern Australia.
So where does that leave us today?
Our God wants us to thrive, to live with joy and not repression, we are to live in trust not in fear. “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” Jesus reminds us that striving to live each day, showing our love for God and our neighbour, gives us a precise platform to praise our God and care for one another.