Lesson 5 – Addition: An example of a lectio divina exercise
Go the way of love – an example of a lectio divina exercise at Ephesians 5: 1,2
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
A while ago I was in my car to give a lectio divina workshop somewhere in a church. On the way I listened to the radio. And there, it must have been about half past seven in the evening, suddenly I heard this bible verse, out loud. The radio host read it, twice. And immediately I knew which text I would use in the lectio divina workshop a little later that evening. It even became my text for the entire Lent period that began shortly after.
Three times it is about love in these sentences of Paul. We are children he loves. We are called to walk the way of love. And Christ is here the one who loved us. Christ’s love for us, and certainly the love God had for his Son, led him to give himself as a sacrifice for us. A fragrant gift to God. I especially feel the call to walk the way of love as what the Spirit wants to say in this moment. Go the way of love.
But immediately a question arises that I often hear and that also lives within myself: isn’t love superficial? Isn’t love sweet? Can love be without truth? The way love is talked about is often stale. But I think up that through these questions I can also keep the overwhelming, inexhaustible, and inimitable love of God away from me. Do I want to be loved by God? Do I want to be touched and embraced by his all-encompassing love? Do I want to go the way of that love? A certain description of love comes to mind, a quote attributed to St. Augustine. I love, that is, I want you to be. Love is not shallow and sweet. Love is putting the other first. It is about seeing the other, that you want to let be the other. That is what the love of God is all about. Isn’t his love saying, from eternity to eternity, to people like you and me, I want you to be? Words of John that I have often preached about in wedding services come to mind: We have come to know and trust in God’s love that is in us. God is love. He who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
And then I return to those words: “Go the way of love.” How often do I not go that path at all. Then I am busy with myself, with what I find important. Then the people around me are not the people of whom I say deep down, I want you to be. Rather, I say, I want you to do something for me. I want you to be different. Love is far from easy and superficial. “Go the way of love.” It touches me that this call is preceded by the love of the Father (as children he loves) and is followed by the love of Christ (who loved us). I am not thrown back on myself if I want to walk the way of love. God first went that way himself. We love because God first loved us. On the way of love I am surrounded and carried by divine, heavenly love that precedes everything and follows everything. I can go the way, with trial and error. Looking at Jesus. Can my life also become a fragrant gift to God?
Lord Jesus, thank you that you went the way of love. Until the end, the bitter end. I myself feel powerless to go that way and notice how often I don’t love. Teach me to listen to your voice that’s calling me: ‘I want you to be. I love you.’ And teach me to set out again and again from there, on the way of love. Let love flourish in my life as the fruit of your Spirit.
I have calmed my soul.
This remains in the silence:
The way of love.
I want you to be.