Sunday, February 27, 2011

Love and Fear...

In morning prayer one day at college the following Australian poem was put into my hand to read:

There are only two feelings.
Love and fear.
There are only two languages.
Love and fear.
There are only two activities.
Love and fear.
There are only two motives, two frameworks, two results.
Love and fear.
Love and fear.

It sounds simplistic on some level. I'm sure many of us would want to dispute that our feeling of wanting to berate or defend our favourite author is about fear. We may doubt whether our anger at NHS treatment of the elderly is about love. We might question whether our constant keeping up with the news is about fear or love.. or both. We might want to make ourselves seem more complex but the simple reality is that most of what we do is motivated by love or by fear.

I feel like i live in a world where fear is in the ascendancy. Anxiety hovers over this community where 86% of people live on Government benefits. Tomorrow letters will start arriving telling people that their incapacity benefit could be withdrawn. And as they are handed vast forms, so fear chalks up a victory mark.

In the wider world I will sit in three meetings this week about funding. As charities scrabble for scraps in the myopic vision of a Big Society fear lurks at the door waiting to claim more adherents to its deathly grip. Its undertakers are sections of the media who profit and thrive in a culture of fear. Its all getting worse and here's how..

And then we turn to the Middle East: where fear seems justified on all counts. Where life and death turn on the quality of the herb feeding a frenzied and addled mind.

Fear: and those who trade in it, seem to be in the ascendancy.

And yet the God I follow is love. Not romantic hearts and flowers love that sits and dines at a fine linen clad table. Its love that sits with friends who are gripped with fear and owns that fear may temporarily win. Its love that knows that fear is beatable and as sweat mingled with blood won a victory that resonates through eternity.

It is love that will sit too with friends and fill out the benefit forms. It is love that will give itself and its resources away to see the rule of love come closer in our neighbourhoods. It is love that will pray and protest until fear is quelled across the world. It is love that will tell a different story, that even as things suffer there is a bigger story that rumbles on.

And it is love that wins.

There are only two things.
Love and fear.

May love win victories in our smallness that we may reflect love's victory in all its bigness.


liz h said...

I was reading something by Rowan Williams yesterday that was talking about our society having a crisis of trust, that people automatically assume that things are arranged to make life worse for them.

Seems to fit quite well with this.

Alana said...

So interesting to read your blog this morning. Last night I came home to a Twitter feed full of comment on John Piper's response to Rob Bell's promo video for his new book "Love Wins". It seemed to be the classic love/fear on the large stage.

Carla said...

very true!

yeti said...

i choose love