A friend of mine, Abby Pound, has recently started to paint. The pictures she paints are simple yet powerful. I bought a simple painting from her that had three words on it, “Go Be Love”. I look at these words and I could easily glance over them. But if we take a deeper look, we will find a beautiful challenge.
First what does love mean? Is it the absence of fear? Is it the absence of hate? Many times in scripture Jesus challenges us to love. But why should we “Go Be Love”? Before I discuss what it means to be love, lets talk about the source of love. Where does love come from? It comes from God the creator. I certainly understand that many scholars do not believe in God and thus challenge this notion, but this is not the argument I want to fight today.
I believe with all my heart that God is love, thus He is the creator of love. There is a scholar I follow named Stephen Mott who beautifully describes the relationship between God and love. He states: “Both grace and love are expressed in action that go far beyond the call of duty, but love ties the lover to the beloved with a greater bond of affection.” “God does not exist to make love real, but love is real because God exists. God can come to us as love only because He comes to us as God…”
As a result we do not practice the ethics of love, but the ethics of God. Wow!!! Love with in us is not just an action, rather a way of life. The love of God so shakes our heart that it becomes our identity. The inclination for social ethics is a natural response, of that radical “active” love. Love and Justice are also inseparable. They need each other. “Love is the greater factor, but justice is a necessary instrument of love.”
If love and justice are inseparable, if love and justice are ingrained in God, we must confirm that the justice love relationship are found in the heart of God. If we want to learn what it means to love then we must first encounter the source of love. I believe Psalm 73 is a beautiful depiction of this challenge. This is a Psalm of Asaph, a chief musician in the tribe of David. The first half of the Psalm Asaph is confessing to God. He states that everywhere he looks he sees a generation sinning openly and there is no punishment. As a matter of fact it seems like they are being rewarded. He goes on to confess that this was an enticement for him; he says that his feet almost slipped. He almost fell.
Lets look at his position; he is not looking at God. His back is turned to God and he is looking at the outside world, and as he confesses he is being tempted. His understanding is being perverted based on what he perceives at the moment. He goes on to talk this way until verse 17. “He says when I tried to understand this it deeply troubled me until I entered the Sanctuary of God.” God was in the Sanctuary, and when Asaph entered he encountered God.
Let us not water this down or skip over this encounter. When we encounter God we encounter the creator. We encounter truth. We encounter the Word. We encounter God the provider. We encounter Love. In that encounter Asaph was radically changed. He now saw the world through different eyes because he saw the world through God.
The revelation of Psalm 73 for me is found in verse 28. He states, the nearness of God is my Good. The Greek word for good is “Arete”. In the area of ethics, Arete and virtue go hand and hand. It means goodness or excellence, but in its earliest meaning it was actually used to define one’s purpose in life. WOW! If we put this meaning of the word in verse 28, we get a reading that says, the nearness of God is the fulfillment of my purpose in life.
GO BE LOVE
If we want to “Go Be Love” we must first encounter the source of that love. Only then can we move forward with a greater understanding of the word. Dr. Martin Luther King, in his last speech says, “I have been to the mountaintop, and I have seen the promise land.” It is on the mountaintop that Moses first encountered God, and then saw the land that God had promised His people. They then had to go get the land.
It was also on the mountaintop that Dr. King first encountered God and as a result saw the promise land that God had promised. The promise land was not just handed over do Moses and followers, nor was it handed over to Dr. King and followers. They had to Go and Be the Love that they found only in the heart of God.
Abby’s father John Pound was a beautiful example of this. He was the pastor of New Hope Community Church in Round Rock who suddenly passed away in January. He had a dream for the greater Round Rock area would come together in worship God in Spirit and Truth. He had many dreams and visions regarding this. He in a sense saw the promise land or the fulfilled dream. John was a man who continually encountered the LOVE of God, thus had a clearer understanding of how it looked. Now we see Abby and a unified church following in his footsteps in order to claim hold of this promise.
I believe the campus ministries on UT are doing the same. I challenge you in every way possible to PURSUE, ENCOUNTER & GO BE LOVE.
Colby May is a father of two wonderful boys and husband of 13 years (Amanda May). He is been involved in campus ministry for over 15 years, much of that time in Austin TX. Colby is founder and president of LIT, a non profit organization leveraging energy consulting as a means to empower change (via the local church) in the most vulnerable countries. He recently spent two years in Boston completing is MA in Ethics & Society (Biblical Justice) from Gordon Conwell Seminary.