Monday, June 9, 2014

Flying High - Love

When you ascend high into the heavens in a physical way on an airplane and gaze out of the window from 40,000 feet above the surface of the earth, you cannot help but be drawn to the awesome nature of God. Having gone through the normal hassle of boarding a crowded flight in a small island airport in Greece, I sat by the window of the plane and watched the normal sights disappear. As we took off piercing the clouds, a new dimension emerged. I could no longer see the steep inclines that moments earlier had strained my legs as I walked the narrow streets of Pyrgos, Santorini. Soon, the vast expanse of the Adriatic Sea was all I could see. Then, as we encountered an area with a vast layer of clouds, there was nothing but the endless varied formation of clouds covering the earth below. Staring out the window I could only think of God. I picked up a book I had brought and here is what I read:
While still a child I would pray for those who gave me offense. I used to pray, "O Lord, lay not sins on them because of me." But though I loved praying, I did not escape sin. Still, The Lord remembered not my sins, and gave me to love people, and my soul longs for the whole world to be saved and dwell in the Kingdom of Heaven, and see the glory of The Lord, and delight in the love of God.  
I judge by my own case: if The Lord so loved me, it must mean that He loves all sinners in the same measure as He loves me. 
O love of God, no power can describe it, for it is immeasurably great and wonderful.
These are the profound words of St Silouan the Athonite. His words of love filled my heart and made me reflect on the simple truth he expresses in these few sentences. How can we have hate for our brothers and sisters of this world when we know how God loves us? Truly, God loves all His creation, each and every person, just as He loves us. 

Flying high above the earth the differences that we so great when on the ground disappear. Even the mountains are barely distinguishable. When I think of God and my own sinfulness I see that from His perspective even my own defects disappear and are forgiven out of His Love. 

This view from 40,000 feet in the air is the way we need to view our brethren. We err when we focus on their failings and are not able to see the image of God in each of us.

Let us remember always how deficient we are and how much God loves us. Like Him we need to love in the same way. This is the way to peace in the world, to peace in our city or parish, and harmony in our family.

We are about to descend into the busy airport in London. I will soon see if can hold on to this view of Love.

Reference: St Silouan the Athonite, by Archimandrite Sophrony,  pp 270-271

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