The sun stopped shining. It was the middle of the day, and the sun stopped shining. For three hours, darkness reigned while the light of the sun failed to lend its light.
The man on the execution tree, barely recognizable and bloodied from the gashes and tears in his flesh, the makeshift crown of thorns that more resembled spikes, was not long for this world. Yet up there, he made provision to take care of his own mother and accepted the criminal there beside him, granting this repentant and dying man’s wish for forgivness.
Then the crowd heard a loud voice. He cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!… It is finished.”
Finished. Carried out to the end.
The greatest act of love.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. — Jesus (15:13)
There are a myriad of definitions of love. Even more ways to express it. Some are emotional based. Some are more based in personal enjoyment, liking what satisfies or pleases us, even to the point of infatuation. I love a nice cup of Earl Grey tea. A beautiful sunset. A good book. Perhaps a better term is that I enjoy those things. They make me feel good or bring some sort of pleasure.
Love requires some investment. Even those aforementioned things require a bit of investment. I have to boil the water to make the tea; I have to get off the couch to see the sunset; I have to block out some time to get into the book.
It goes beyond that. It considers the welfare of the object of the love, not just the reward for the person giving it. Sometimes the only reward one has is that one has loved. So it takes a little selflessness and humility.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. — Paul (Philippians 2:3,4)
Jesus invested himself totally and completely. He was ultimate in his selflessness; he humbled himself right to the point of a criminal’s death. The greatest love. The greatest commitment. The greatest care for others.
Jesus spent much time caring for people and their physical needs while here on this planet. Mother Teresa’s forerunner, you might say. Especially those that were not cared for by the well off and well thought of. Beggars. Sinners. Outcasts. And that care led him all the way to the cross. He cares for our souls.
What’s the thread in love? Some investment, a little selflessness and humlity, and some care and compassion.
“Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
who made the eyes but I?
Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve.
You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.
–George Herbert, Love III
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Want to Know What Love Is.”