‘Love hurts’ might seem an odd title to choose for a reflection
When we’re all about getting closer to the celebration of Christmas
Of ‘love come down’, God alongside us embodied in Jesus, with us
To bring joy, and hope and all those nice things.
But love isn’t easy, and sometimes it hurts.
Time and time again joy and sorrow, in reality, are often found
side by side
If anyone told you being a Christian meant life would be simple and pain-free
And I think, to truly love, you will also know pain.
For to love, means to lose, at one point or another
Because nothing stands still, forever
And while love can endure and any storm weather
It’s not without cost
And at times, heart sore.
When we love, we open our hearts
We lay ourselves bare
we can be hurt, we make ourselves vulnerable, as soon as we care.
Be it love of a friend, a parent, partner, or child
Or even an unknown stranger on the other side of the world
When we love, we are soft and can be wounded deep
By letdowns, or half truths, by illness or grief
Through no fault of our own, or sometimes even the other,
And yet, on this day when we think especially of Mary,
The Theotokos, the mother of God
The reality of the pain of love is seen
the overwhelming abundance of joy and overpowering nature of hope
Is wound up in her willingness to trust God
To walk her path, and bear with it, the piercing of her very soul.
Because, although love hurts, it also wins.
Love heals, love understands, it holds us, re-forms us, defines us.
God is love, and John tells us that ‘those who live in love live in God’
So we, as Christians, with an affirmed belief and knowledge of God
Must be full of love.
And in this way, perhaps love can be understood to be like white light,
before it breaks out it’s prison and goes through a glass prism.
That within it, love is a spectrum of life, of all things, honesty, humility, vulnerability, possibility, loss, fear, doubt, joy, hope, peace, righteous anger, courage, thirst for justice, compassion, wisdom…
What of human life and existence is not, or cannot be, understood through the prism of love?
Not always good, sometimes misplaced,
Unrequited or unwanted
But ever present and crucial to living.
We need love.
And the pain that sometimes love brings, reminds us that we are human, that life is real
And God knows us, is with us, and alongside us, healing or hurting, stressing or celebrating
All of life is known to God
God is love, and when we hurt, God hurts with us.
But this love will never run out, leave nor expire.
This is love, and for it, even when it hurts
We hold love in our hearts
And give thanks that we can live.
As Mary did.
written by The Revd Chantel Noppen
Image: Everett, Trey. Do Not Lose Heart, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=57824