Knowledge and Love
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 -- Week of Proper 21, Year One
Jerome, Priest and Monk of Bethlehem, 420
Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 986)
Psalms 101, 109:1-4(5-19)20-30 (morning) 119:121-144 (evening)
2 Kings 18:9-25
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
I leave in the morning tomorrow for a trip to visit my son Gray in China. I'll be away for a couple of weeks. I'll send emails daily through an automatic program to pass along the Daily Office readings. But I won't have cell phone or computer there. (I don't have a way to send the readings to my blog. But the Office is always on line at www.missionstclare.com)
"Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him."
Scientists know that as researchers solve one mystery or problem in the quest for full understanding, new questions always emerge. Knowledge is a receding horizon.
Even what we think we know is always open to amendment and reinterpretation. I think I can recall the quote correctly: A friend of mine tells about something that one of his professors always says to the incoming class at Medical School. "Half of what you learn here will be obsolete by the time you finish your practice. We just don't know which half."
Knowledge is a good thing, a share of the truth. But we must always hold our knowledge with humility. There is always more to learn. What we know is always subject to change. Although the accumulation of great knowledge is a privileged exercise that often gives certain privilege to the knower, it is best held humbly.
But love is available in abundant depth to all. God is love, and God is pouring love upon us constantly. Whenever we respond to love in any degree, we are living in divine energy. When we love, we know God and God knows us.
I used to direct summer camps for mentally challenged adults. I was often awed by their love and courage. I knew people in that camp who had very limited capacity for knowledge, who would never be able to graduate from high school or understand a theology text. But they had a deep capacity for love and an open appreciation of life. They were profoundly in touch with mystery, and they knew God. I could tell that many of my friends at that camp had a much more intimate and developed relationship with God than I did. My thoughts and my complicated inhibitions blocked me from what they could run to with abandon. You do not have to have a high IQ or graduate degrees to love.
Killian Noe runs a recovery program for urban addicts in Washington, D.C., at the Church of the Savior. She is fond of saying to people whose lives have descended into the depths of bondage and despair, "No one is ever too far gone to find their way home." She welcomes addicted street prostitutes into a residential community that is grounded in spiritual principles and supports spiritual practices like Centering Prayer to help addicts find their way home. Graduates from her program have a remarkable 96% drug free rate.
At the heart of the spiritual principles that they teach at the Church of the Savior is this from Killian Noe: "What is most true about each of us is that we are loved, and that God's love abides in us, just as surely as a peach pit is at the core of every peach, love is at the core of every human being."
Love is foundational. It is the core of our being. At the center of our being is love. It is God's love, God's presence. Loving us into being. That is the most important and most true thing about us.
Love is ubiquitous. Everyone has access to love; everyone has capacity to love. Love builds up.
What if we worked as hard and practiced as hard to learn love and tp apply love as we work and practice to gain knowledge? For knowledge I went to school full time for over sixteen years. What if I had spent as many years working full time for love.
In a way we do live and work and study love full time, always. That's another way of describing life. When we are conscious of love, we are aware that we are God's beloved. When we are unconscious of love, we are still being loved into being, we are still God's beloved -- we are just asleep to reality.
"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." The problems of our generation will be solved most truly by love more than by knowledge. And every one of us has abundant access to love, abundant capacity for love. So, let us love one another as Christ has taught us.
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About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.
Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html
The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.
Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org
Our Rule of Life
Lowell Grisham, Rector