Wednesdays is where we practice noticing where Love walks among us--where we have felt the presence of Love or noticed its absence. Upon reflection over the last week, I have found Love in my FOO - my friends of origin! They are awesome!
Over the last week, from Thursday to Sunday, I was at the Pacific Northwest United Methodist Annual Conference meeting. While this is not unusual, what was different for me this year was that I spent the time with a wonderful friend. We planned our meals together, drive to & fro, and she let me stay at her apartment which was MUCH closer than where I live. We supported each other emotionally through conference discussions and gave each other the freedom to go and do our separate business and our separate friend visiting. It was a wonderful time spent in 'philia' love. The Greek definition love that describes much of the love found in friendship. Where there is love, there is God.
Well, really, God is there all the time. Perhaps we feel God the most when we are filled with love - no matter what kind of love! The ancient Greeks had 3 types of love and the modern Greeks added a 4th. They are:
- phileo - love for your friends
- eros - love grounded in attraction to another
- agape - unconditional love, described as "spiritual love" or "servant love"
- storge - this is the more modern love, rarely used in ancient times, but expresses love as a parent for a child
(Note: all of these definitions are at the highest level. There is some great research that takes the definitions to very deep and beautiful levels.)
I am reminded of the story in Christian scripture where Peter and Jesus are talking back and forth.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love (agape) me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love (phileo) you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love (agape) me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love (phileo) you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love (phileo) me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love (phileo) me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love (phileo) you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
It is so interesting! Because the original hearers of the Greek story would totally have heard the difference between agape and phileo. And we mush it together and don't hear that Peter just wants the love of his dear friend. A friend's loving care can make all the difference to who we are and who we become.
So today, I am aware that God, who is love, is found in the love between friends.
Where do you see divine Love today?