18 June 2021
Perhaps a song by the rock group Queen is not the most likely source of spiritual inspiration. Especially as lead singer Freddie Mercury openly expresses the struggles and longings of his bisexuality, perhaps against the background of his Zoroastrian upbringing. Nevertheless, with those caveats, I can’t help feeling that he is on to something.
The song begins with a haunting plea: “Can anybody find me somebody to love?” It ends with the repetition, over and over like a drumbeat: “Find me somebody to love.” I checked the lyrics, and I kept expecting it to say, somewhere, “Find me somebody to love me.” After all, isn’t that our instinctive desire, that we want to be loved, that we need someone to love us? But no, it’s consistently “somebody to love.”
It reminds me of something I read in a book about dealing with depression, in which the author asks the person suffering from depression, “Is there any reason to think that the commandment to love your neighbour no longer applies to you?” It sounds brutal. He was getting at our tendency to excuse ourselves from the command to love others. Surely, if anyone gets a free pass, it must be the person struggling with depression? But no.
What if we have been made by a God who is love, not only to be loved by him (and to know we are) and to be loved by others, but to love others ourselves? On a purely practical basis, someone has to give love if anyone is to receive it! But what if it is part of what it means to be truly human, truly reflecting God’s image? Surely that is what it means to be like God? To love and be loved.
I can testify that many is the time when, feeling sorry for myself, I have been most helped by doing something for somebody else. Perhaps love is the best therapy after all! I’m sure it’s one of the reasons God puts us in families: to learn love. They show us love, and they teach us to love others – or they should. And the church family does the same. It’s one of the reasons why it’s not good for us to be alone, watching online. Meeting together gives us dozens of tiny opportunities to love others.
Jesus told his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” And then, “Love each other as I have loved you.” He wants us to know that we are loved by the Father and the Son – truly, madly, deeply – and that we are now to show the same love to one another. We have much to learn on both counts.
Father, help me to grasp just a little more of how much you love me, and help me to want to love others, and to do it. Amen.
Chris Hobbs, Senior Minister