In the end, we are raised in love, just as in the beginning we are made from love.
And love is strong, stronger than most of us can imagine. As the ancient poet once wrote:
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).
Today, apparently, we need even more to remember that love is stronger than hate. From one end to the other, the world seems awash in fear and terror as so many thrash about with a violence fueled by a relentless suspicion if not a deep loathing.
I cannot imagine how to solve any of this, yet on this Easter Day, the Feast of the Resurrection, I try to remember this: love is strong, stronger than fear and terror, stronger than violence and hatred.
I try to remember that, and then I wonder how the world might change if Christian churches everywhere preached and lived love, and only that.
Imagine Christian congregations organizing all of their worship, business practices, and pastoral care to ensure that you and everyone else feels unmistakably wanted, desired, and loved — that you know yourself as desirable and lovable, without any question or doubt.
Imagine returning week-by-week to a place where you catch an invaluable glimpse of what it looks like to live without any shame, being free of guilt, and having no fear – a glimpse of love’s amazing strength.
Imagine a lifetime of catching that glimpse and hearing that declaration of love and how it would shape and form you. Imagine coming to the end of your mortal existence when you are laid lovingly in Earth by the community who cherished you. Imagine at that moment realizing with considerable astonishment that the arc of your life has only just begun, a moment when you hear once again the voice of the One who made you:
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away. . .
Let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely (Song of Solomon, 2:13b, 14b).
That is the voice of Easter.
Listen for it; let it remake you; and then ensure that everyone else hears it, too, no exceptions.