I was struck by the power of that question—framed by the facilitator of a drama workshop as the first element of a compelling story. His point was that, for a story to work, there has to be “love” somewhere, a reason for these characters to stay together through whatever they may face. The second element was conflict, something that causes drama and struggle. The love needed to explain why characters would stay engaged through the conflict and not just walk away, which would mean there would be no story to tell after all.
A COSMOS FILLED WITH LOVE
When we apply this thought to the cosmos, it immediately brings to mind the fact that all these gasses, planets, and stars don’t just go hurtling off into space. Of course, scientists have good explanations for most of why that happens. Yet there remains an element of mystery to how the universe connects and functions as a whole. As I explored in a previous post, the entire universe is connected. There is a sense, then, in which we could say that the whole universe is filled with love, with a connecting force that holds it all together through all the drama of creation, life, and death.
When we consider our connected universe from the perspective of sacred texts, we find the same truth expressed in a different way.
God is love (1 John 4:8)
[Christ] existed before anything else and…holds all creation together (Colossians 1:17)
[Christ] sustains all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3)
A SPIRITUALITY OF LOVE
A friend of mine once said that spirituality is about the “relationships between all the relationships in the universe.” When we recognise that everything is connected, we can begin to understand that nurturing these connections brings truth, beauty, and goodness to all, and damaging these connections brings brokenness, conflict, and destruction.
A wonderful example that reveals just how connected our world is, and how nurturing those connections can have amazing, life-giving results, is the case of wolves being reintroduced into the Yellowstone National Park in the USA in 1995.
GOD IS LOVE
What this means is that God can be understood as that which holds everything together—the force of love that connects all things in the universe and nurtures the relationships between them. But it also means that spirituality shifts from being about our own personal fulfilment and peace of mind, and begins to be about participating in this universal connectedness by:
Intentionally seeking to grow our personal awareness of the connectedness of our universe, and of our own personal connection to the cosmos, to God (however we may understand the divine), to others, and to ourselves.
Intentionally seeking to create, nurture, and preserve all that strengthens connectedness, and to resist all that damages connectedness.
To think of God as love means far more than just imagining a kind, old father-figure in the sky who looks out for our (personal) best interest. It is to see God as the love that holds our cosmos together, and that nurtures all the life-giving connections we see and experience. And it is to seek to make love—for all things—a central feature of our own lives. Because every little bit of love adds to the great flow of love that connects and sustains the life of everything in the cosmos.
What would it mean for you to view God as love in this way?
How can you be more intentionally aware of the connectedness of the cosmos, and of your connectedness to the cosmos?
What difference would this perspective make to your own spirituality?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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