Rev. Richard A. Schumacher
Often times modern lyricists and poets of the present and days gone by write or have written about love. Maybe that’s because love is a universal subject. It does not matter where one is from; geography is not relevant. It does not matter what one looks like or what language one speaks; love transcends race and culture because love is of God. Both poets and song writers implore us to love. Eighteenth century Scottish churchman Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) did so in this way:
Beloved, let us love: love is of God;
In God alone hath love its true abode.
Beloved, let us love; for they who love,
They only, are His sons, born from above.
Beloved, let us love; for love is rest,
And he who loveth not abides unblest.
Beloved, let us love: for love is light,
And he who loveth not dwelleth in the night
Beloved, let us love; for only thus
Shall we behold that God Who loveth us.
In just five sentences Bonar reveals multiple secrets of love. First, he reveals that love is of God and that one who loves lives in God. Therefore, we know that when we love we are in God and expressing one of God’s most beautiful attributes. Second, Bonar reminds individuals that those who love are transformed; they are changed from above. We know that through that transformation and according to spiritual law, we become more like the love that we express.
Third, Bonar describes love as rest. In a busy eighteenth or twenty-first century world, rest becomes a badly-needed renewal. Love and loving others takes nothing away from us but instead renews and strengthens us for the demands of the day. Failure to love drains away any existing spiritual, emotional and physical strength we may have. In failing to love, the individual denies himself or herself the blessing of renewal that love brings.
Fourth, Bonar describes love as light. Living in a post-modern world individuals have many choices. Studies show that too many choices often lead to making no choice at all. What is needed is guidance or the spiritual light to see clearly the choice we are to make. Love as light is the awakening of the wisdom and judgment faculties of the mind, like the old cartoon character who is depicted as having a light bulb over his head; so love allows us to discover our next right step. Those who fail to love deny themselves this light and “dwelleth” in the darkness and night of indecision. Bonar begins each line of his poem with the words, “Beloved, let us love:” revealing by repetition the importance of loving. In the last line of the poem he assures the reader that it is only through loving that one can see and experience the very God who loves us.
Last of all, Bonar reminds the reader that they are loved through beginning each line with the word Beloved. You are the Beloved of God and you have an unlimited ability to love those around you. By loving you are transformed, blessed, guided and you come to know that you are the beloved of God. Beloved, let us love.
Come Home to Unity.
Come Home to A Community of Love.