Thursday, November 10, 2011

Agape (In C.S. Lewis' Discussion of Four Loves-Agape is greatest)

In C.S. Lewis' brilliant The Four Loves the author discusses the greatest of love, agape which is Christ's love. First, it is a spiritual, divine and all-encompassing love. It is given freely with no expectation of return. For those unfamiliar with Christ's love or for those who are just beginning to understand the depth of it, it seems impossible to bestow. This is the "turn the other cheek love." Turning the other cheek requires superhuman effort, divinely inspired; in fact it is impossible unless one is in Christ's spirit and renewing one's mind in the Word daily.

From the perspective of one on the receiving end, if they are not in Christ's spiritual adulthood, often they do not realize what it is. How can they without God's wisdom of understanding at that adult level? Such love is incomprehensible to the human mind. All manner of twisting and distortion occurs about it until finally the anointing breaks through (probably years later) and the understanding comes to the one on the receiving end. Most likely, the individual giving the agape and the "receptor" have long gone to other spheres of influence. As the Word says:  the seed was planted, one came and watered, another tilled the soil around the plant, another provided the sustenance, etc.

This sonnet is representative of such agape love which is spiritual and never physical. The closest thing to the physicality of agape is feeling inner peace, warmth and forgiveness; it's power can send chills running up and down one's spine at its recognition and its presence. Being physical is so far beneath agape; it is mortal and selfish. It can indeed, kill agape love: objectify another's soul making it a nonentity (think what the Nazis did to eradicate self/identity in the concentration camps).

In human terms the closest thing would be to say agape is like platonic love. However, agape is much greater than that because it leads to redemption and renewal of the soul to Christ. Platonic love does not entail Christ, the anointing, the spiritual level of wisdom and faith.  Platonic love is mental and intellectual. Platonic love remains on a plane of logic. Agape defies logic. That's why it's impossible to understand, unless divine understanding is given to understand:  someone plants, someone waters, someone tills, someone gives sustenance, etc.   It takes time.

Oh Michael, Christ emboldened you with Love.
This Grace bestowed upon His chosen ones.
In hallowed sanctity of world's above
The carnal, worldly realms we surely shun.
And you, confounded, and perplexed, undone,
By that, you cannot seem to grasp or see,
Will learn in seasons ripe that you are One,
With Him in fullness of His unity.
A vessel or an ark, a ship, stalwart,
He's making of your soul to receive Him.
So don't throw off my Love* which fully starts
His process of your freedom from gross sin.
Just know this song of love envelopes you.
His love and mine are One with you in truth.

 *agape love (no distortions please)

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