“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God”
“If music be the food of love, play on” (Twelfth Night). And no doubt, we shall! “Dance me to the end of love.” Music, food, & dance, it seems, all come together tonight. But how? Through love. The question is not about what kind of music, whether Mozart or Villa-Lobos, not about what kind of food, whether Iberian or Brazilian, not about what kind of dance, whether minuet or samba, but about love. What kind of love?
What? Isn’t love, well, love? A little word pressed into the service of many and great things, I fear. Yet we cannot not think about love. It is the challenge of this day and a challenge for our culture. Nothing speaks more profoundly to our assumptions about love than the Scripture readings for this day and this season.
Our assumptions about love? Hey, isn’t it Valentine’s day? Isn’t love romantic and sensual, sexual and emotional? It is not something to think about. Feel the love! Yet:
In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
(not, perhaps, the best of opening lines for Romeos and Juliets!)
But ‘tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote.
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue’s tune delighted,
(this is not getting any better, is it?)
Nor tender feelings to base touches prone,
Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone.
There’s a challenge. Somehow love might be something more than the sensual and the physical, something more than just the erotic. Yes, but, note, neither less nor other than the sensual and the erotic, perhaps, and certainly not without romance.
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