Thursday, 14 February 2013

Abiding Love

So, it's Valentine's Day. So I thought I would write a nice Smuggety McSmug post about how lovely it all is and how wonderful and marvellous Adventure Bloke is.

Except I didn't really.

Now, Adventure Bloke is indeed most wonderful and marvellous, but that is not the content of this post, I'm afraid. I wanted to express something of what love is. The love that underpins all loves. Abiding Love.

Now I'm loving the word 'abiding' at the moment. It's not a word used very often in day to day speak. The only time I can think of hearing it is in the hymn 'Abide With Me' <remember the hauntingly beautiful version of this at the Olympic opening ceremony?>  It's a word that goes deep, that says so much about God's nature.

The dictionary definition is:

Adjective: [of a feeling or a memory] Lasting a long time, enduring
Synonyms: permanent - lasting - constant - enduring - stable

Now, quite a few friends around are struggling in their relationships. Marriages are breaking down, vows are broken, people emotionally abused, discarded. Or simply finding that love has gone. Human love seems to be fleeting at times, transitory, difficult to pin down. People search for love and come up empty. Can the best of human love satisfy the deep need in every soul to be loved, completely and utterly, to be loved abidingly?

God's love is abiding. Abiding is faithful. Abiding is permanent. Abiding is forever. Abiding, also, brings to mind the image of living in a place - of being somewhere, of staying put, of waiting, almost. There is a sense in which God's abiding love is a love that lives with us, stays with us, and waits with us. Never giving up when we are unfaithful to God, not forgetting us when we forget God. We could do all we could do to damage our relationship to God and yet abiding love is still there.

When I see human love doing as it should do and being as it should be - loving unconditionally, valuing the loved one, giving, acts of random kindness, patience, generosity etc, I think of God. I think that such love is possible because of God's image in each of us. When I see it go wrong I mourn at God's image being marred again. When I get it wrong I mourn at God's image being marred in me. And yet there it is - the beauty of it. When I get it wrong, there is still Abiding Love. 'Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me'...

I'd like to think of St Valentine's Day as a day where we can all be reminded of that greatest love <yes, I did resist the temptation to break into song there> and know that whatever our circumstance, however bruised, battered, broken or tired we are, even if we are bumbling along quite happily, we can know the abiding love of Christ, the love with longevity that will never give up.

I'll end this with lyrics by Tenth Avenue North

By Your Side
Why are you striving these days/Why are you trying to earn grace/Why are you crying/Let me lift up your face/Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love/Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough/To where will you go child/Tell me where will you run/To where will you run

And I'll be by your side/Wherever you fall/In the dead of night/Whenever you call/And please don't fight/These hands that are holding you/My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side/They swallowed the grave on that night/When I drank the world's sin/So I could carry you in/And give you life/I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you/I want you to know/That I, I love you/I'll never let you go

This post is dedicated to K, J, S, C and J



  1. Love this! I'm reading the Archbishop's Lent book this year which is called Abiding by Ben Quash

  2. I'm reading that too Kate, one of the reasons the word 'abiding' is going round my head :)