Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Love Lost (and Found)

"God is love.  Love endures all things." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7
Lodged in the shadows of an elegant rotunda in NYC’s French Embassy lobby stands a curly-haired youth, set on an ancient Roman altar.  It’s taken a battering over the years, having not only lost its arms and lower legs but also suffered a number of breaks.  There’s considerable water erosion, probably from an earlier life as a fountain, on the chest and head.  There’s also some staining on the face and some chipping of the nose and upper lip.
Over the last half century, the statue has been seen by thousands of visitors, many of whom gathered for social events in the shadows around the fountain.  But if they thought of it at all, it was as a throwback to turn-of-the-century taste.  Never did anyone suspect that it might be Manhattan's only sculpture by one of the greatest creative artists of all time.
The statue, identified variously as a young archer or a Cupid, has been the subject of intense scrutiny.  The flickering curls of the hair, the forms and features of the face, the treatment of the body and the carving technique suggests it was carved by the famed Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo as a teenage prodigy.
Mythologically, Venus’ son Cupid was at times portrayed as a small, winged boy, carrying a bow and arrow.  Legend reveals that those shot with his arrow were destined to fall in love.  He’s cute and lovable but also mischievous and dangerous at times.
Cupid reminds us of the power of love especially when it is pure and uncontaminated by jealousy, fear and greedy attachment.  It’s ironic that this masterpiece, this iconic symbol of love, stood unrecognized for centuries.
God’s love may also lie unrecognized within our own hearts ... but it’s there whether we acknowledge it or not.  “In the quiet of the night, be comforted: the Lord remembers you.” (Psalm  63:7)  He is the God of all comfort and the healer of fragmented, devastated, tender hearts.
Human love is an incredible thing, the kind of gift that puts purpose in your life and happiness in your heart.  But God's love is even better!

It’s not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account.  It’s not changed by your talents and abilities.  It’s simply there for the asking - when you’re sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful.  God’s love is even there for you whether or not you feel you deserve it.
Deny it, fight it or try to ignore it, but God's love for you is omnipresent, lying right out in the open sometimes when you least expect to find it.  Be comforted: “God loves you.” (John 3:16)
Lord, there’s no human experience that I might walk through where Your love cannot reach me.  Teach me to love You more.  Help me to rest in that love that asks nothing more than the simple trusting heart of a child.  In Jesus name, Amen