On this Easter Sunday, it seemed appropriate to post on a topic of wider scope than domestic politics. Love is certainly an interesting concept. Those of you who read, may recall an interesting conversation surrounding the City of Angels movie a month or so ago. This love of which I write is less amorous and more spiritual in nature if you will, but the delineation is slight.
The President's weekly radio address remarked that "Easter is the most important event of the Christian faith, when people around the world join together with family and friends to celebrate the power of love conquering death." After this, he launched into his ubiquitous remarks about the men and women in uniform who work to secure America. But his last words from the New Testament were especially fitting, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," (John 15.13). Both loves mentioned involve sacrifice and putting another before self. The question becomes, is there really a distinction of action is the same. In a relationship, if you love someone, you are willing to put that person's needs before your own. If you are willing to lay down your life for another, how is that different? I don't know that the distinction is all that clear between the two types of love (amorous & spiritual).
In elucidating his point, a homeland example of love in service was taken from the shooting at the Red Lake Nation Indian reservation in MN. Earlier this week an unarmed security guard bought time for others to rush to safety while he was murdered by the teenage gunman. It's a tragedy when children are on the edge and resort to violence in order to vent their frustrations. God knows I've had my share of problems and it's always re-affirming to have family, close friends and loved ones to keep me sane. I can't imagine how lonely it must be for a young person to have no one and turn to violence as an alternative. I think this is an example of love we aspire to see both in amorous relationships and spiritually. It's remarkable, but we desire to see someone who is willing to sacrifice and work with a young person on the brink and to usher others to safety. In some sense, the security guard embodies everything positive about the Easter season and protection we seek in a relationship with others.
Even the pope (the story of which links the title at the top) served as a reminder to the world that suffering and failure are not antithetical to inspiration and success. Although the ailing Pontiff failed to speak during Easter blessing (certainly this was the headline, not that he actually appeared, which is in itself remarkable), his presence inspired the tens of thousands who gathered to hear his message read. One pilgrim from Boston remarked, "Knowing how much he suffers and how hard it is for him to speak, for me it was so beautiful. It moved me very much," said Matthew. "He's such a strong force and wonderful example for our Church." Moreover, the actual text of the remarks, said that Easter gave nourishment to those who seek truth, freedom, justice and the fullness of peace- Pax Plena. The Pope's example of suffering and reaching out in love to his congregants offer a special glimpse of selflessness- a form seen in the sacrifice of the security guard and seen in the hope Easter brings of overcoming Darkness as illustrated in the President's remarks.
On this Easter day, we all decry violence around the world; we all decry fratricidal wars that bathe the landscape of the Middle East and third world nations. On a day like this, it's very easy and clear to see that we have so much more to gain by cooperation than by division and mutual apathy. Perhaps the task of our generation is to find results and seek ways to right some of these wrongs through love? Even if we fail, like the Pope failed to speak, perhaps the legacy of attempt is sufficient enough to inspire future generations toward action?
Let me predicate these thoughts by saying that I am by no means naive to what I have put forward. I have a very firm grasp of reality and of the challenges inherent to these hopes. But this realism does not foster a sense of unwillingness to engage the task and seek to make life better for those who would follow. Though the goal may seem cliche, the objective of love remains salient and germane to all those who would seek to serve others in a meaningful way. My idealism is based upon the hope of common goals and upon the ability of this generation to be equal to the task.