Cambridge terms run for 8 weeks, Thursday-Wednesday, and people here often keep track of where they are in term by marking the fact that we are ‘near the end of Week 1’ etc. There is also the notoriety of the ‘Week 5 blues’ – supposedly because most people are worn out by that point in the term, but find themselves only at the half-way point.
To make the way we relate to the different weeks a little more positive, Siân and I are naming the weeks by a different fruit of the spirit. This is now the last week of term, and the end of Week Love. Here is a reflection.
Rachel – Only Love Today
If I was challenged to summarise my faith in a single word, it would be ‘love’. Love is what Jesus showed us on the cross, love is the fundamental of the two greatest commandments we are given – to love God and to love our neighbour – we have been made a way by love and we make a way by love.
This week I have learned no profundities about the nature of love, but I have really enjoyed telling myself three words over and over, ‘only love today’.
When I feel like work is too difficult and I want to complain, ‘only love today’. When I feel irritated at what someone is doing, ‘only love today’. When I’m not sure what I should go about doing next, ‘only love today’.
These three words soften my heart when it is hardened.
Back in March I wrote about love in the small things:
Love turns off the light, folds the laundry, irons the clothes, packs the lunch, writes a note. Love is there listening to the repeated tale, extending the welcome, nursing the wound. Love goes out of the way, remembers a birthday or illness or interview or previous conversation topic, reaches out a hand, clears up the mess left at the end of a day. Love gives the credit, accepts the consequences, plays fair, accedes defeat. Love says a gentle goodnight. Love cooks dinner, waits at the orange light, makes the bed, chooses graciousness, wilfully forgets a wrongdoing. Love presents flowers, is ready with a kind word, pulls a funny face to win a smile. Love serves without seeking thanks, sits patiently amidst brokenness, resists temptation. Love teaches the child, stands by the hurting, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving. Love speaks truth, speaks up, speaks life. Love issues an open invitation, practices hospitality, pulls you in close for a hug, happily clears up the smashed plate and starts the washing up. Love wipes the tear, removes the splinter, directs the lost, touches the lonely. Love wipes the counter, mops the floor, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion. Love is there week in and week out and issues no hard feeling. Love is willing to sit on the floor and be last in the queue. Love joyfully expects to have dirty hands and dirty feet at the end of the week.
Love is the greatest, most beautiful thing, and it starts in this very hour.
We have been made a way by love and we make a way by love.
“And the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13