Repost: Love and Light

Reposted from January 1, 2024

This is a phrase that was made popular by the New Age movement of the 1980’s and 90’s.  Perhaps it was the equivalent of “thoughts and prayers” in that it was a phrase to say to others when you meant well, wished for good, wanted to send a blessing, or, to be honest, just didn’t know what else to say.  Unfortunately, that trivialized these words and what they can mean to us. 

This month of January, our theme is “the gift of liberating love.”  When I ponder liberating love and not just the word “love” I am brought back to “love and light.” Here’s why.

Authentic love, love that liberates, always comes with a light to shine on things. If I say that I love you, I cannot really mean that if I don’t also love myself–respect my own self-worth and dignity. If I don’t hold myself in some authentic regard, what does it mean to say that I hold you in authentic regard?  Not very much.  Authentic love shines a light on you whom I love, and on me, the one declaring love. 

If I hold love to be the center of things (and our new Unitarian Universalist expression of our principles does exactly that–makes love the core of all else that matters) then it shines a light on how I approach those other most important things. What would it mean to practice equity without love? Doesn’t transformation pretty much require the work of love inside of us and the relationships we want transformed? How do we allow others who don’t hold our views to exist in harmony with us without love? Don’t actions of generosity without love just become acts of manipulation? And justice without love?  I think we call that cruel and unusual punishment. Finally, how do we conceive of any sort of interdependence of things without the light of love,

of deep connection, of infused truth and meaning? 

As we begin this month, I wish us all of the light and love that we need for our lives and our journeys.

~Bob Patrick

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