By Rozella Haydee White
Day 1 of 5: What is Love?
Defining terms is important to me. So many words hold multiple meanings. Depending on the person, on the context, on the experience, a word can mean one thing in one setting and something very different in another setting.
I feel like this about the word love. For every person, there are different perspectives and definitions. And it makes sense because love is a loaded word. It evokes feelings, memories, pain, passion, connection – all the things.
As we begin this five-day journey together, I must begin with defining the word that will be used throughout these devotions: love.
At this age and stage of life, my view of love is directly connected to my view of God. This hasn’t always been the case. The ways I viewed and understood love were more connected to my day-to-day relationships with family, partners, and friends than it was to my faith. While many of these relationships taught me some good things about love, there were also lessons I learned that didn’t reflect the fullness of love that I believe God desires us to experience. Many of these relationships whittled love down to a feeling, a passive way of being that didn’t evoke or invoke action. Some of these relationships modeled love as conditional and when I did or didn’t do the right thing, love was withheld or even revoked.
None of these relationships represented the fullness of love for me that I’ve found in God.
I view God as lover; as the one who wants nothing from me but a relationship, one marked by justice, mercy, and humility. God as lover is concerned with the holistic well-being of every aspect of Her beloved Creation. God as lover so desperately wants to be with creation that God left the heavenly realm to be in relationships with us. God loves us so much that God implanted Divine light in each of us.
There is not a clearer picture of God modeling love to us than God as revealed in the Trinity. Here we find a God who is relationship with God’s own self and models love in its fullest and purest sense.
The love that I see in the Trinity is a love that is life giving. It is a love that is creative, liberative, and sustaining. Where there is love – creativity, liberation, and sustenance – there is Truth and Light. There is God. And this God is love and this Love is God.
This devotional series will explore love through this framework and will invite you to consider how loving in this way can cross boundaries and bring us back to each other, and ultimately, back to God.
I’ve also included songs for you to reflect on for each day because I believe that music provides some of the best imagery of who God is and how God loves us and invites us to love each other. Lastly, I wouldn’t be the coach I am if I didn’t include questions for you to reflect on. Love is not passive. It’s active. And it invites us to grow and expand so that every aspect of our being is infiltrated with love.
So, here are some questions for you:
How do you define love?
Where do you see and experience love in your life that creates, liberates, and sustains you?
In what ways might you embody this type of love?
Song: I Am Light by India.Arie