In the Spirit
The Rev. Shipley Allinson
---- — Every well-known religion humanity has devised has some edict about love. Often there are several types of love. Buddhism has love that is compassion and mercy, benevolent and sensual. Islam has God loving those who do good, who are pure and clean, those who trust and are patient and persevering. Hinduism has love as a sacrament; it preaches that one give up selfishness in love, not expecting anything in return.
In Christianity there is an edict found in the Gospel of John, chapter 15, and I believe it is a universal message of love that we can all gain from.
The Gospel states in verse 10, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11: I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12: My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
On the surface this reads like any other edict about love. However, I would like to share with you some possible translations of this scripture written by researcher of the Aramaic language, Neil Douglas Klotz, in his book “Blessings of the Cosmos.” The reason I share these is that the translations are so beautifully poetic and so variant from the English translation Christians normally read.
(I will mainly paraphrase Klotz, but his words are in quotes).
First of all, “commandment” translates as a regular teaching or lesson. The teaching is that if we let God-love “be kindled in us, like a big fire building slowly, we will mingle with this love.” It will become part of us and it will stay with us, and it will be our guiding principle.
There is great joy within us that is “diffused from the joy of the first moment of the cosmos, and distilled into a light in (y)our eyes.” The birth of the cosmos was one of joy, like the birth of a child, and we carry that joy innately within us.
We hear the Divine voice as an “echo of welcome from our own voice of guidance, present at the first Beginning.” We have always had the voice of guidance within us.
“Let this welcoming, this rejoicing complete its purpose in you.” Let your divine nature, which is love and joy, reveal itself through you.
The “greatest challenge we have is to find the love that grows slowly, as friendship, and is as firm as the fire that began the world.” We can “find it in the way we treat each other.” We are invited to lay down our “prized, individual, awareness of ourselves” (our egoic selves) and to realize we are “equal to the breath-spirit of another, the soul-self we think of as separate but which the womb of the Holy One includes, with you and all humanity, as the First Child of Eden.” We think we are alone and separate, but that is the sense of separation we created ourselves. In actuality, we are all One, children of the first beginning.
This teaching says that when we come to realize that we are all One “breath-spirit, emanating from the fire that began the world,” will we all know Divine love and enter, once again, the realm of Eden.
In blessings for the love that transcends all differences and brings the final peace that passes all understanding.
The Rev. Shipley Allinson is pastor of Unity on the River in Amesbury.