“What the world needs now is love, sweet love; it’s the only thing there is just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. No, not just for some, but for everyone….” Diana Ross sang this top selling record in 1965 as the nation was deep in the quagmire of Vietnam and the nation was being ripped apart by internal disagreements over the war and the Civil Rights Movement. This was the decade that saw the assassinations of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. It was a turbulent decade. It was a violent decade. It was much like the decade of which we are now a part.
I think about death a lot these days. It seems it is always lurking around the corner and ready to pounce on me when I least expect it. But I do not fear it because I believe in a loving God who will receive me as a father receives his child—with open arms and unconditional love. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son Jesus told of this kind of love and in the Sermon on the Mount he tells how we need to love others unconditionally in the same way the Father (God) loved the Prodigal Son. In the Sermon he says:
“You have heard that it was said ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’, but I say to you ‘ Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your father in Heaven.'” (Matthew 5:43-44)
In a world torn by hatred and violence; divided by LGBT gender issues; fearful of each othere to mass shootings and listening to the prophets of hatred and gloom; where the rich grow richer at the expense of the poor; where children go to bed hungry every night while surrounded by plenty; torn by differences in religion and race—-the solution of love is the only solution.
The word ‘love’ in English can have many definitions. The Greek and Hebrew languages do a much better job in defining a more precise meaning. The Hebrew word ‘hesed’ is always used to express God’s unconditional love for his children. In Greek there are several words we translate in English as love.
In Greek, eros is the word for physical love and sexual love. philos is the Greek for love of brother and sister— love for family members. The Greek word agape is translated “love” and is the Greek word for unconditional love—love that loves with no expectation of return. This is unconditional love-— the love that loves us regardless of any return of love by us. This is the way God loves us and the way we are told by Jesus to love our neighbor in the Great Commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul,mind and strength; and your neighbor as yourself.
What we need in this fractured and torn world today is LOVE. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. We have tried the other ways—power as military and economic might; hatred; exclusion by building walls to shut others out; arming everyone to carry guns. How have they worked for us? Not well! The only solution we have not tried is Unconditional Love. Such Love put into action is a mighty force. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahtma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Dorothy Day, St. Francis of Assissi and Jesus all lived by this kind of love and were a mighty force for change in their time. They practiced agape love to the best of their ability. Although severely and hurtfully opposed by the forces of power, in some cases jailed, beaten, and finally for King and Ghandi assassination and death—their lives and work remain a testament that love in action is a mighty force to change a fractured and torn world toward a more just and peaceful world.
Love is important! It is what the dangerous, hurting, hatred and strife-turned world needs. Have you ever considered what would happen if the United States used even half of the billions and billions spent on maintaining our military might and developing the means to kill our enemies to show our love to them ? Never underestimate the power of love to change enemies to friends.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love;
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some, but for everyone!!