Friday, March 23, 2012

Channeling Love

Friday, March 23, 2012 -- Week of 4 Lent
Gregory the Illuminator, Bishop and Missionary of Armenia, c. 332

Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 955)
Psalms  (morning) 95* & 102       //        107:1-32 (evening)
Exodus 2:1-22     
1 Corinthians 12:27 - 13:3      
Mark 9:2-13  

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

To the Egyptians, Moses was just a murderer, or maybe even a terrorist.  His killing of the Egyptian who was beating one of the Hebrew laborers had a political component to it.  Moses fled for his life.  The Midianites who took him in -- did they give sanctuary to a justice warrior or did they harbor a terrorist? 

In one sense, we can see Moses' violent act as a response that is motivated by love.  His love for his people provoked his anger into rage when he witnessed the injustice of their forced labor.  That love was focused in the particular incident when he came across the Egyptian overlord beating the Hebrew.  Moses' act was premeditated.  He looked around.  No witnesses.  He struck.  He buried the body. 

Anger is the appropriate emotional reaction whenever someone or something you love is threatened.  Anger stimulates action -- sometimes enraged action.  But underneath the anger, there is love.  

Gerald May writes:
Searching beneath anxiety, one will find fear.  And beneath fear hurt will be discovered.  Beneath the hurt will be guilt.  Beneath the guilt lie rage and hatred.  But do not stop with this, for beneath the rage lies frustrated desire.  Finally beneath and beyond desire, is love.  In every feeling, look deeply.  Explore without ceasing.  At bottom, love is.  (Simply Sane, Crossroad, 1993, p. 87)

What do we do with all that love?  If love is the energizing cauldron of emotion, how do we channel that energy into constructive rather than destructive actions? 

Paul says today, "If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."  

Love may be the underlying motivation for one's speech and powers and sacrifices, but if that love is exercised through rage and violence, it can become destructive nevertheless, as Moses learned.

The model for us is Jesus who transfigures human life and love.  Today we see Jesus on a high mountain joined by Moses and by Elijah the prophet.  Jesus is bathed in dazzling light.  Jesus will take the energizing love of freedom (Moses) and justice (Elijah) and he will channel that energy in a pure and non-violent way.  He will stand up to violence and injustice, exposing it and soaking-in its evil without giving it back in some violent counter-reaction.  Instead, he will trust God's deliverance, and unmask wrong, forgiving perpetrators and liberating victims alike.

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
-- Morning Reflection Podcasts

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 -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location -- --  Click for Divine Hours

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 10:23 AM, Anonymous mike said...

Love is an intensity. If you feel it in your heart and your heart thoughts are lost still in self — it can come through really weird. It can manifest both as intensity, which it will, and as violence — which is the happenings when you are immature and still thinking that the answers are yours, particularly if you are operating under the delusion that you are somehow extra special. Some of you will know that I operate with some authority of experience when I speak here.

Our will is juxtaposed with God’s will until we surrender to God’s will. We do not do that all at once — or when I have seen people have those moments they are then at a loss for what to do next and … often get so lost. God reveals Gods’ Self to all of us, I must think. I am not all that caught up in special anymore to think that I have some unique thing going on with me. It is like a radio that gets tuned gradually to the ever present waves of God’s Love that permeate God’s Creation. The tuning is the eternal labor of love that we learn to do. The wavelength is accessible to all.

Gerald May writes:
“Searching beneath anxiety, one will find fear. And beneath fear hurt will be discovered. Beneath the hurt will be guilt. Beneath the guilt lie rage and hatred. But do not stop with this, for beneath the rage lies frustrated desire. Finally beneath and beyond desire, is love. In every feeling, look deeply. Explore without ceasing. At bottom, love is.” (Simply Sane, Crossroad, 1993, p. 87)

I have not seen as deeply or clearly as Mr. May. I know that fear is the great offender, and that at the bottom, Love Is. I know that all of that stuff gets tangled up in there. I know that if I look deeply at my feelings there is more there than I had imagined. I am just going to have to read this guy, May.

Thank you for a very thought provoking and spiritually inspiring post, Lowell.

Highest Regards,



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