Reflections on ‘loving the world’ from Gospel of John: Lenten lectionary

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.
Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.
… What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.
— Songwriters: Burt Bacharach / Hal David

Loving the World

Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element. ― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife

Let us love the world to peace. — Eileen Elias Freeman

All the particles in the world are in love, and looking for lovers. — Attributed to Rumi

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God Who is sending a love letter to the world. — Mother Teresa

The world changes when we change. the world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world. — Marianne Williamson

At the center of religion is love. I love you and I forgive you. I am like you and you are like me. I love all people. I love the world. I love creating. Everything in our life should be based on love. — Ray Bradbury

No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one’s partiality. — Wendell Berry

If your mind is expansive and unfettered, you will find yourself in a more accommodating world, a place that’s endlessly interesting and alive. That quality isn’t inherent in the place but in your state of mind. ― Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change

I love the world at 4 am. The streets are all mine. I don’t have to deal with traffic, and people’s bullshit. I don’t have to answer any calls or reply to any texts. I don’t have any responsibilities. No fights, no arguments, no hate, no love, no faith and no engagements. I can just be. Like we are meant to be. –  Attributed to ‘Hedonist Poet’

You’ve got to invest in the world, you’ve got to read, you’ve got to go to art galleries, you’ve got to find out the names of plants. You’ve got to start to love the world and know about the whole genius of the human race. We’re amazing people. — Vivienne Westwood

Excerpts of Commentary on “For God So Loved the World”  from Gospel of John chapter 3 (John 3:16)

Jesus articulates in this statement … that God is fundamentally a God of love, that love is the logic by which the kingdom of God runs, and that God’s love trumps everything else, even justice, in the end. — David Lose

… judgment … in John’s Gospel … represents your own moment of crisis of whether or not you will choose to enter into the life-sustaining relationship God provides … the intimacy God so desires with us here and now.— Karoline Lewis

Today, for many Christians, John 3:16 has become this same sort of gimmick: read this verse and you’re saved.  Done and done.  But God cannot be reduced to a formula — neither can the way of God, revealed in the life of Jesus.  … John 3:16 alone is an insufficient guide for healing and salvation.  Instead, we need an authentic encounter with the Mysterious, Loving, and Gracious Presence that we call God — and concrete steps transforming one’s life to follow the way of Jesus. we can lift up Micah 6:8 and the two Greatest Commandments as a source of healing.  May these slogans never become for us an idol because it not enough to believe with our lips that salvation comes from doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God — and from loving God and neighbor.  We must live in such a manner everyday.  May we learn to love the world in this way — as God so loves the world.— Carl Gregg

To Begin With, the Sweet Grass (excerpts) — Mary Oliver

3. (excerpt)
Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of the single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life—just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe still another. …

7.
What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements, though with difficulty

I mean the ones that are thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the ush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment somehow or another).

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.

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