Monday, April 11, 2011

O Love That Glorifies the Son

Here's another never sung gem from the LDS hymnal, #295:
O love that glorifies the Son,
O love that says, "Thy will be done!"
Pure love whose spirit makes us one --
Come, fill my soul today;
Come fill my soul today.

O love that binds our family,
O love that brings my heart to thee,
Pure love that lasts eternally --
Come, fill my soul today;
Come fill my soul today.

O love that overcomes defeat,
O love that turns the bitter sweet,
Pure love that makes our lives complete --
Come, fill my soul today;
Come fill my soul today.

O Lord, give me the will to mend;
O Lord, change me from foe to friend;
Dear Lord, sustain me to the end --
Come, fill my soul today;
Come fill my soul today.

I've sometimes heard it suggested that the love that binds two people together -- the love that brought my mom and dad to marry each other, or the love that has inspired me and Göran to make our lives together -- is somehow qualitatively different from the Divine Love, from the Pure Love of Christ, from the love that God feels for us and the love that motivated Christ to die for us.

Deep down inside, I've always known that wasn't true. I've always known that was a lie about the nature of love -- a lie told out of fear. I've known it because of the kind of love I feel for Göran which -- yes! -- could inspire me to give my life for him. There's something deep and profound that connects us. It's a love that was born, true enough, in superficial romance, in "attraction." But beginnings are always that way. By simple means great things are brought to pass. Attraction, desire led us to make promises. That's what attraction and desire are supposed to do! Our attraction, our desire, sings us a song of what could be if we have faith. So we make promises. And the fulfillment of faith is in the keeping of promises, day by day, week by week, year by year, until I can barely believe we're coming up on two decades together. And like that sunrise on a cloudy morning Elder Bednar spoke of a couple of weeks ago, one fine day it dawns on me, there's something powerful there. A love that would inspire me to give all for him. A love that looks and feels so much like the Divine Love, it's hard for me not to apprehend the love Göran and I share as a sacrament, as an embodiment of the Divine Grace.

This hymn testifies of the unity of loves: the love that says "Thy will be done" and the love that binds my family is one and the same. The hymn says that the love that binds our family is also "the love that brings my heart to thee." I know how true this is for some very personal reasons. It was only when my love for my spouse reached a new level of commitment that I suddenly found myself hearing the voice of the Spirit whispering so clearly to me in August 2005. My love for Göran, my faithfulness and commitment to him, led me back to God; and my love for God, my faithfulness and commitment to God, led me back to Göran, in ever more profound circles of love and commitment.

But these loves -- of God, of family -- are connected to other loves too: "love that overcomes defeat," "love that turns the bitter sweet." This sounds more like hope and faith. But hope, as the prophet Moroni reminds us, we cannot have without faith, and we can have neither faith nor hope without love (Moroni 7: 40-48).

Finally, the love of family that turns our hearts to God, the pure love of Christ that fills our hearts with faith and hope, are manifested in the final love mentioned in the hymn: the love that gives us "the will to mend," the love that changes us "from foe to friend." This love makes us peacemakers. It makes us agents of change in the world around us to create harmony and peace where there was discord; to return patience for anger; to return love for hate.

You can't deny one without upsetting or undermining all the others. It's all one love.

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