Love is an overlooked view, a quiet thing, a forgotten happening. When it occurs, we miss it. When we do it, we don’t notice, and neither does anyone else. The great transgression of our Christ, the thing which impassioned the Roman whips and drove him to the cross, was that he brought to light, his light, love’s simplicity. Those who listened when he spoke, killed him. We do not listen. We cannot, because to chose his simple way is to begin the undoing of all that we have made, all that we are, all that is our identity. Love is tiny and shy and overlooked and will destroy us all.
There is no glory in love. There ought to be, but there is not. Much ought to be in this world but is not. There is no glory in love because glory as we know it, as we can see it without perishing, is built of that which is not love. Glory as it truly is, in and emitting from the Glorious, is nothing but love, but as before, we (deliberately and desperately, it seems) do not see love.
I have glimpsed it. It was devastating. I am still reeling. I cannot comprehend or communicate what I saw. I can only feebly attempt to emulate it, to live it, to, hopefully, I pray, glimpse it once again before I am gone. When I see it, I will go. To die in love is to be killed by life.
I want people to see simple love as the extraordinary thing it is, that they may spend their days pursuing this simplicity instead of the complicated, ordinary prestige and power that seem to so captivate and cage them.
There is an extraordinary work happening in an ordinary town in southern San Diego. There are faithful people there doing faithful things. Call them “missionaries” if you can look past their lack of exotic location. Call them “church planters” if you can look past their lack of programs. Call them whatever you like. They call themselves “Christians,” and they are trying to make that label true. This is the way they feel directed to do so by the One whose name they take.
On Sunday evening these Christians invited their neighbors over to share hotdogs and lemonade. Their neighbors added enchiladas and Korean salad. I watched and listened as people who had lived beside one another for years spoke of where they came from, where they go every day when they leave their homes, and where they dream to go one day. History, homes, and hopes – what else is there to talk about, really? What else is there to redeem? What else is there to love? It’s simple really, but it takes effort, life and death effort.
I do not believe Christ calls everyone to the same place, practice, or purpose, but I do believe we are all called to the same love, to the same, simple “shake your neighbor’s hand and listen to hear his or her heart” love. Do that somewhere, some way, to some effect. For the love of God, love your neighbor.
Dare to peak behind the veil, to glimpse a love so devastating and dire, to be washed over by a glory disconnected from pride and power. To approach you must take off your shiny shoes, leave your agendas on the alter, cast aside your ambitions, subvert your carefully constructed kingdom. There is no earthly honor in this work. There is no temporal esteem. There is simply simple love, a beautiful view, a chula vista, but a chula vista seldom seen.