Our local Chamber of Business sends out a daily news brief via email. It contains items of interest to local business, and financial indicators. (The latter is useful for keeping track of one’s millions stashed away in foreign currency, gold bars, and the like.) Included in the email is a daily inspirational quote. Last Thursday contained one by Brian G Jet, “The greatest possession we have costs nothing, it’s known as love.”
It sounded good and, in one sense, he’s quite right. Love is free. You cannot buy it or force it – ask any parent – it’s either freely given or not at all.
But at another level, it couldn’t be more wrong. Love is the costliest gift of all. True love, unconditional love, is beyond price. How can one put a price on a mother’s unrequited love for her child? What price the love of the prodigal son’s father? What price the Father’s love for us, pledging his all, committing himself fully to the frail and fickle creatures he made but set free? The cross was the price he paid but even God knows that he cannot buy love; he can only demonstrate it.
We too can only accept and acknowledge that love; we cannot pay for it. We can only receive it freely, revel in it, and learn to reflect it to those who need it, and perhaps even deserve it, more than we do.
All our training is focussed on paying our way. “It’s not fair,” is our cry when someone seems to get more than we do for less. You’re supposed to pay for what you get. But, with love, there is no such bargain, no such deal. We love because we have been loved. If our love is reflected back to us from those we love, beautiful friendships may blossom; if not, we love anyway because we have already been loved; we have already received far more than we could ever give.
Loving Creator, exuberant in the extravagance of your creation:
The beauty and colour; great landscapes and tiny flowers;
Multitudes of beasts, inhabiting land, sea and air,
Giants and miniatures alike.
Lord of all, whose name and nature is love,
You gave birth to all there is.
You revel in your creation but you love the particular.
You know each individual, uniquely created,
And you care what we make of our lives.
You’re the loving Parent
Sacrificing all for your children,
Delighting in our growth,
Mourning our pain,
Saddened by our loneliness.
You delight in our worship,
And rejoice when our lives reflect your glory.
Lord, whose name and nature is love,
Live your love through us.