Love is not true love apart from the body.
This doesn’t align with the Western way we talk about love. For us, we can view our bodies as an optional part of love. As though the sentiment or the idea of love is adequate.
Not so with Jesus.
True love requires that our bodies be involved, that we get up out of our armchairs and be about the business of actively loving, as a verb.
When my kids want my love, not a one of them is satisfied with the idea that I love them. Nor are they satisfied that I feel like I love them. They’re glad for this, yes, but when they run in asking me to come outside, they want love that follows them back out the door, leaves my adult-sized shoes on the grass, and jumps on the trampoline with them.
They may not articulate it, but they know intuitively that we’re not just spirits, and that to love, we have to love not just “in spirit,” but bodily, too.
Our best picture of this is Christ. When God wanted to express as fully as He could His love for us, He didn’t send a disembodied text, didn’t even just give us the Bible. He came in the flesh, walked among us, and gave His body up to be hung on a cross. “This is My body, broken for you.”
His love was en-fleshed. Not flesh-indulgent, not seeking another’s body to make His feel good. His love was an offering of His body.
If we wish to love, ours must be, too.
For me, there’s the rub. I think it’s why I want to hold on to the illusion that I can be loving without loving. Because to love bodily, like Christ, it costs me. And to love in the truest sense may just cost me everything.
The good news is if we want to, we can increasingly come to love like Jesus. All that He poured out, He poured out as a gift not just for us, but as a gift to us. He gave His body that our bodies would be restored to love as He created them to.
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).
Ready to jump,