Love: the ultimate Christpower

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, May 12, 2022

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I’ll be the first to admit that the past two articles I’ve written were tough. Writing them was hard, so I can appreciate that reading them might have been hard, too.  I wish, as a culture, we were more accustomed to thinking about and wrestling with the horrors of the world more openly and honestly.  We just aren’t good at telling the truth plainly.  We aren’t good at talking about what hurts us, what scares us, what haunts us even when our eyes are closed, and we want to pretend the monsters aren’t there. We have other people appointed to talk about these things.  Talking heads on TV news, preachers in pulpits, sociologists, etc. But try bringing up world hunger or debates about abortion at your next social event and see how quickly the conversation turns to something else, anything else, like the color of the grass or the high-pressure system moving in from the West!

But that doesn’t serve us well. Ignoring the hurt, or the confusion, and simply relying on immaterial and trivial things in life to cover over the nakedness of Reality…closing ourselves off to what is Real in an attempt to escape the demands of Reality…we not only hurt ourselves, but our neighbors and the ones who come after us.  We hurt the young people who are watching adults in this world continue to focus on the great American pastime of consumerism while failing to take into account their own role in creating a just society.  For every citizen, every community member, everybody with breath in their lungs has a role to play in creating communities of character, love, and justice.

I recognize the words ‘creating communities of character, love, and justice’ might be overwhelming.  Yet I’m convinced a commitment to those ideals is the only way society will not fall into an abyss of no return.  I’m not trying to be a doomsayer here.  I’m attempting to make an honest assessment about the fatal flaw I see while at the same time affirming a belief that we really and truly have the capability to transform the world for the sake of goodness and love.  I speak this way and write this way because I believe that people have within them an innate goodness and a God-given power to change the world.  Bishop John Shelby Spong, of blessed memory, captures beautifully this dynamic: “I have seen people resurrected by love. I have watched beauty transcend ugliness, love overcome hatred, faith transform fear, life overcome death. This is Christpower, and it is not alien or foreign to our world.’

This Christpower has many names, but perhaps the simplest is Love. Not in a sappy, flowery sense of Love as pure feeling, pure emotion.  But Love as action, as an energy that compels us to think of the well-being of our neighbor every time we also consider our own well-being. Love which asks the question, “Where is the world hurting and what can I uniquely offer to ease the pain?” For everyone with breath in their lungs is a beloved child of God, beautiful to behold, and is full of that Christpower of Love that can take even the most broken things and restore them to an unmatched beauty.  Make this love real, my friends, and we will see wondrous things indeed.

Chris Adams is the Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.