I love Beatle music. You may have already discovered my mania. The other day the boys were singing for an audience of one inside my car…
“All You Need is Love. (♫ Dont…da-da-da-da ♫). All You Need is Love.”
The band sang this catchy phrase around fifty years ago on a BBC telecast that aired in twenty-five countries, and was seen by more than 400 million people. Some of you baby-boomers watched like me. June 1967: I remember thinking …ain’t it the truth, Johnny. We all embraced the message. Hopefully still do.
So, why we don’t see more of it? Love, I mean. In the world… in our neighborhoods… in some of our relationships. So much is still broken.
The world’s kind of love can be easily discarded. Love has been reduced to a whimsical feeling that comes and goes. Seems so often that love never digs deep enough roots to enable us to become the people we were meant to be… together. All too often we demand something in return for our love.
My opinion: John Lennon got it right…almost. I think he missed one critical word. Selfless. All we need is selfless love. (Yeah, the music and lyric don’t fit so well. Nevertheless.) This kind of love is given regardless of our own selfish needs.
The Greeks call this “agape” love…an unconditional love. Accepting someone despite flaws or shortcomings. (Or, how they voted or what they believe.) A love that leads us to sacrifice and give, and expect nothing in return. A respectful love. A committed love.
Pie in the sky? (Don’t worry. I’m not gonna head to my piano and start crooning “Imagine…”) But, what if?
Seems to me that kind of self-denying love can repair the brokenness between a government and its people…cities and communities being ripped apart by drugs and gangs (both leaving death in our homes and streets)…and strife within our own families and friendships. We can start there.
Maybe the bubbling cauldron of hatred would cool, and understanding between our brothers and sisters would take its place if we displayed selfless hearts. How do we develop one?
Left to our devices, I think most of us are outta luck. It helps when we follow the wisdom of the ages, the gold nuggets in the books of faith. My personal place to search out how God loves, and teaches us to love, is the Bible. The Hebrew and Christian scriptures. But like I said, the same principles can be found in other sources as well. Whatever your persuasion—even if you claim no God—perhaps we can learn from these texts.
On May 17, 1827, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, passed away. Someone asked him on his deathbed if he had any final words of counsel for his children. Jay, who served as president of the American Bible Society, replied:
“They have the Book.”
The Holy Bible: The top-selling book of all time that has transformed the lives of billions of people over the last…well, the oldest biblical text is about 2700-years-old, but the Old Testament is believed to date well beyond. Great literature. Amazing stories. Profound insights. Even if you don’t believe. (God’s story…for those who do.)
If we want to display this kind of love, we need a selfless heart. When we turn our hearts over, and extend ourselves with no expectation of gain, maybe we’ll experience more of heaven here on earth.
I’m trying. Some people are hard to love like this. Maybe I am, too! This is a lifetime journey: two steps forward and one-step back. I’m glad I, too, possess the Book.
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, ‘Jump’, and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love…”
Blessings…as we travel through this crazy, beautiful life together. All we need is (selfless) love.