“Everything I know about love I’ve learned from country music,” says Uncle Steve, with a laugh. It’s a well-worn joke, but I think it’s true: so much of what we know (or think we know) about love comes from popular culture.

Pause today and listen to the music. Ask yourself, in the words sung by so many different bands and musical artists, “What is love?”

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There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. We love because God first loved us.

1 John 4:18-19

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“There is no fear in love.” It’s hard to hear these words, because in my experience love and fear so often go together. I’m afraid to lose the people I love through conflict, distance, illness, accidents, and ultimately death. We don’t live in this world forever, and the things we love we also lose. Even more heartbreakingly, there are many people who suffer from physical and emotional abuse in relationships. In those relationships, fear and love are always, painfully linked.

“Landslide” (1975) by Fleetwood Mac is a song that speaks to the poetry of love, fear, and loss. “Oh mirror in the sky, what is love? Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?”

We have not been made perfect in love, not yet. Nevertheless, it gives me hope to imagine that our love for each other is a mirror, a window (cracked open to varying degrees) to the perfect love that God has for us.

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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God of love, heal me where love hurts. Sit with me in moments of sadness, grief, and fear. Hold me in your embrace so that I might know what perfect love is. Amen.

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“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

from the “Finale” of Les Misérables (1980)

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

Heidi Thorsen Oxford is a recent graduate of Union Theological Seminary (MDiv, ’17), and is a postulant for ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. She is currently completing a chaplain residency at Yale New Haven Hospital. Heidi lives with her husband, Will Oxford, and their two beautiful cats.

Making Space: Day by Day

Carter Harrell

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