Friday, February 3, 2012

For the Love of God

Does anybody know where the expression, “For the love of God!” originated? I can’t find the source. When I hear reverent people who love The Lord God Almighty, say “For the love of God,” it focuses me on His love, over all other kinds of love. I do say it to myself now and then as a reminder of that in trying moments. But I have to confess, I won’t say it out loud, because it can sound like I’m taking the name of the Lord in vain, about which He warns, “DON’T!”

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, something new popped into my thinking. I’ll call these examples of the “love of God” that’s missing among us. Through the years people I care about have “graduated to heaven,” as my friend Pastor David Maier puts it. Go to for my interview with David Maier & his wife and son. It was the first show in 2011. It’s called “Out of Control Is Ok!” Incredible story of facing opposition. Back to “the love of God” expression and those missing among us. As I attend events where my now “graduated to heaven” friends were major players, I see things that aren’t as lovely right now, simply because the person who shared the love of God in them, is gone. This is not meant to slight anyone. It caught me by surprise, but it’s happened more than once, so I do want to think further on it.

For example, to give you an idea of where I’m headed, at the church dinners, bazaars, especially the soup and salad fun raiser, it’s not the same anymore. I finally figured out what’s missing. It’s Shirley’s homemade soup and her fresh baked breads, loaves and loaves of different breads, which she cut with an electric knife! And her jams and jellies aren’t there either, much less her pickles. Also missing are Margaret’s little potted aloe plants and other starts from summer cuttings neatly rooted to take home. Her home grown elephant garlic and generous bunches of fresh basil, absent from the offerings on the table. Now we have good enough rolls from the bakery and no one comments on the soups, but we all know the difference. We’re in a bit of a pickle.

I did inquire once, to see if Shirley’s recipes went missing. No, I was told, she did them from her head and never wrote them down! Now she’s forgetful and that was that. I left it alone and moved on and then one day it hit me. Shirley and Margaret and the others carefully, dutifully, endlessly, joyfully shared their gifts quietly through the years. We’d all say “Uhmm, wonderful!” and “Thank you for taking the trouble to do all this!” But who wondered what would come next?

That’s what I’m wondering right now. WHO will come next? Part of my answer came rather too quickly. “You will!” I heard very clearly in my head. I’ve enjoyed serving the Lord by loving people with other gifts than those that are missing. But as I’m getting older, would it be a nice way to love through some of those replacement duties that are missing? I do pick my own berries and fruits all summer and put them up. How much trouble would it be to make a few more batches? I used to make all our breads before the best bakery in the world came to town. I could do that again, just for special church occasions. The aroma would be worth it! And maybe I’ll even buy an electric slicing knife! I give friends slips of my garden plants all summer long. I suppose I could pot a few to put out for others to buy and raise some money for charity. About those soups…uhm hmm…well, I could cook up some of favorites from the website recipe column. I’d forgotten how my sister and I used to trail the gargantuan pickle truck over to Bear Lake, MI from the cottage and wait til it loaded up all the right sized cucumbers and left. Then we’d buy a bushel of odd sizes to take home and pickle! I still have those mason jars!

Thanks for accompanying me on this mental detour! Does it make you wonder how you can restore some of the LOVEliness that’s missing in your little corner of the world? Maybe that’s where the saying ,“For the Love of God” came from; someone pondering, “Now what will I do to share it!” Your turn!

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