When I was a little, baby Christian in college (I was agnostic before then), I was taught in the proper evangelical way that there were really four different kinds of love in the Greek New Testament.
There was philia, the love that friends have for each other.
There was eros, the erotic love of lovers.
There was storge, love for family.
And then there was the good love, agape, which was self-sacrificial, Christian love.
And while the other three were okay in their context, we really needed to pursue agape-style love.
But a couple years back, God shuffled the deck for me. In a time of contemplation that I can only describe as one of mystical union with Christ, I saw that all of these loves were really the same love. And that love is, in fact, the undercurrent of everything in the universe.
Every star that is born is born out of love.
Every living thing that births a new generation is birthing them out of love.
Every time we show kindness it’s the same love.
Passionate sex is from the same love.
The unfolding of history is love in action.
Each atom that clings to other atoms is partaking in love.
And at the center of all of this love is God, who has a red hot, passionate, even erotic love for each and every part of the universe, and most certainly those created in the image of God.
I was brought back to this experience when reading one of Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations from a few years back. In it he says “The biblical Song of Songs, Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, and John of the Cross could use only highly erotic images to communicate their mysticism.”
I have absolutely found this to be true. How else could it be? Could God actually love us less passionately than our partner? Could erotic love be more powerful than God’s love? Of course not!
(And as an aside, the Song of Songs, which I never understood prior to that mystical experience from a few years back, is now my favorite book of the Bible).
And so, beloved, know that all is love. That everything in the universe is being pushed forward by love, and is moving toward its fullness in love. You are loved. Even the smallest creature is loved. And even the most seemingly irredeemable sinner is loved. Because we come from love, and we have our being in love, and we will one day be fully united with Love itself.