Risky Love

Photo of Helen Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis drawn from C.S. Lewis’s Joy in Marriage: What I think Alister McGrath got wrong about Lewis’s wife, Joy Davidman (Gina Dalfonzo. Christianity Today. 10/8/2013). The original is from The Marion E. Wade Center (Wheaton College). Accessed 1/16/2014. 2:39 PM. Also posted by ESN in ‘s Review of Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis — A Life. Part II.

Loving anyone is a risky thing. In fact, we could argue that “love is never seized apart from courage.” When we make ourselves vulnerable, we could get hurt. Lewis knew about the pain of loving. He lost his mother when he was about nine years old. He lost a close friend that he fought with in World War I—Paddy Moore. He lost his father and last but by no means least, his beloved wife, Joy, to cancer. Lewis nevertheless says about love:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

– From a section on “Love and Courage” in C.S. Lewis on Love, a brief piece by Dr. Art Lindsley available on-line thanks to the C.S. Lewis Institute.

JESUS MAFA. The Crucifixion; Jesus dies on the cross, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48390 [retrieved March 8, 2013].

JESUS MAFA. The Crucifixion; Jesus dies on the cross, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48390 [retrieved March 8, 2013].

I encourage you not only to give C.S. Lewis on Love a slow, reflective read, but also to share it with others in word and deed. Furthermore, I invite you to join me in prayer for healing in places, communities, and individuals (which can include yourself) whose hearts have been broken by a lack of love for God, neighbor, vocation, and/or creation. Today let us resolve not to lose sight of and express Loving God in the Flesh in the Real World with head, heart, and hands.

AND not forget that the source of this love is God. The One who not only is present with us (individually, as the Body of Christ, as the creation undergoing renewal) each step of the way, but also truly embodies that loving anyone in the creation is a risky thing. In order to give this some additional reflection, take a moment to re-read the above quote through the lens of the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. Note: Stay tuned to explore more deeply as justice will be a theme for Scholar’s Compass through the season of Lent.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come!

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God. — Philippians 1:9-11

I came across the ‘Head-Heart-Hands’ graphic via Gateway Christian Church and was inspired to share it with the Head, Heart, and Hands series. As one of my colleagues shared with me via email, “It rocks.” Amen!

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry (D.Min., May 2019). To God be the glory!

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