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Rising in Love Part 5: Love tolerates all things, love trusts in all things, love hopes for all thin

Blog by Nikayla Reize

Love tolerates all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things. -1 Cor 13:7

The permanence of this text is intimidating and overwhelming. Tolerates all? Trusts and hopes in the work of love, always?

Stay with me here –the permanence of this vision for love begins with God’s commitment to the labour, not ours.

Gen 12:1-3 The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s household for the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation and will bless you. I will make your name respected, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, those who curse you I will curse; all the families of the earth will be blessed because of you.”

There are no strings attached, but you must leave the life you know and begin to dream a new dream that reaches beyond your inner circle.

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love each other. The one who does not love remains in death.

Exodus 19:4-6 You saw what I did to the Egyptians, and how I lifted you up on eagles’ wings and brought you to my Self. So now, if you faithfully obey me and stay true to my covenant, you will be my most precious possession out of all the peoples, since the whole earth belongs to me.

The obedience proposed is an obedience to the dream of a future that blesses the whole world – all living beings. The dream of God is one that safeguards us from our innate fears of scarcity that cause us to tear each other down on our way to the top of the food chain. The dream of God is one that safeguards us against our intrinsic fear that there isn’t enough for everyone. It safeguards against the fear that there are more strangers than neighbours out there.

These scarcities have caused to pour our resources into securing a safehouse for our private possessions, ambitions, and personal legacy. The God of the enslaved Hebrews is still rescuing us from the house of Pharoah and Solomon and Caesar – God’s liberative action from the house of slavery is ongoing, trustworthy, and always hopeful towards the world God loves.

Hosea 11:8-9 How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? My heart winces within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I won’t act on the heat of my anger; I won’t return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a human being, the holy one in your midst; I won’t come in harsh judgment.

I hear God saying, “It was a rough beginning and I, too, have wanted to give up – to burn it all down and start again. But I can’t do that – the thought makes my heart wince. As I notice myself wanting to give up, I notice that the warmth and tenderness of my compassion burns steadier than the heat of anger. I am in your midst.”

Isa 42:13-14 The Lord will go out like a soldier; like a warrior God will stir up rage. God will shout, will roar; over enemies he will prevail. I’ve kept still for a very long time. I’ve been silent and restrained myself. Like a woman in labor I will moan; I will pant, I will gasp”.

God is a warrior mother, birthing the new world. Just keep breathing – just keep breathing. The future is being born in our midst. This isn’t the rage of a God intending to harm – this is the rage of a God who is birthing the next world. It is the creaturely roar of labouring towards liberation. Jesus told Nicodemus that the new world is not possible without rebirth – without being lifted by the ankle and having the goop of the old world being sucked from your crying lungs and wiped from your fresh face. It is hatred and war, cancer, and abuse that we will leave behind, forever. God’s battle isn’t against flesh and blood (and neither is ours) but against the powers and principalities that keep harming the world God loves, of which you are an intentional, on-purpose, hoped-for part.

Isa 49:13-16 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones. 14 But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.’ 15 Can a woman forget her nursing-child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

The future is nursing at the breast – the age to come has been born. The future is secure, and her walls are *continually* before The Enduring One. Our Warrior God is filled with hope and loves the non-committal and flighty and stiff-necked people that the Lover has called Beloved.

God says, “I’m with you and I see that you’re afraid and weary. I see you’ve been mistreated, and you’ve been lied to over and over and over and you’ve been voted against, and you’ve been interrupted and silenced and misunderstood and … and …. And I see that you have very little reason to trust that it could ever be different. Let your grief be a river flowing from your wound towards the sea – look, even now, the salmon mothers are beginning their journey in-land, against the current of your sorrow, towards you, and towards the wound – they are swimming ceaselessly, they are carrying the eggs of tomorrow and they will give their lives to leave them with you – to entrust them to you– they are propelled by hope in you, and in the future they seek to plant right here, at the headwaters of this present darkness.”

John 14:18 ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.’

Mark 14:22-25 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 I assure you that I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way in God’s kingdom.”

The communion table is Jesus saying, “When we meet again, the world will be changed into the world we are imagining now together.  I know the world will have become the one that we’re planting in ourselves, for each other and for the world and for our ancestors and for our children and for their children. We will drink this wine again in the next world together.”

The scene immediately after this is Jesus praying in Gethsemane, pleading with his weary co-conspirators. “Stay awake and keep watch with me – this age is ending – this next 24 hours will feel like death but trust me when I tell you it is a birth. Stay awake. Endure. Keep Watch.”

Matthew 28:18-19 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

He doesn’t say to conquer and rule. He never says to coerce or dominate. The slain lamb, the salmon mother, the crucified God, has been deemed trustworthy and true. He commissions us dream with him, of a future for all people. He commissions us to dream with him of a new birth and new world for all people in the name of the God, who is within us, beyond us, and in our midst.

In the world of my prayers, I am starting to wonder if the so-called Kingdom of Heaven isn’t like a small creature hiding in a cave in our heart and every morning God puts out tiny bowls of grain and milk.

1 Cor 13:7 Love tolerates all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things.

Love consents to the long haul. Love is committed to the road trip across the terrain of your life. Love is being served on a banqueting table in the valley of the shadow of death. Love comes up from the tomb-turned-womb breathing the breath of new life upon an amazed world, dancing in barefeet, declaring, “We are rich! We are rich! We are, all of us, rich!”

Rev 21:1-5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the home of God is among the people, and he will be at home among them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And he who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Stay awake. Keep watch. Keep pushing.

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