One Love: A Letter to the Forgetful Saints

“Love is a temple, love is a higher law.”

U2 (from the song One)

Over the years, I have heard the term “One Love” expressed in a few different ways; and over the years “One Love” has sort of evolved from where it began.  I think the very first time I heard this was when I was entering high school.  The infamous band from Ireland, U2, had made a huge comeback return with their newest album Auchtung Baby.  I wasn’t that much into U2 at the time because The Joshua Tree was so played out for me, I needed the break.  I don’t think I even listened to SIDE A of Rattle and Hum.  Maybe I am out dating myself.  I digress.

I’ll just jump right into it.  One Love; we hear it, but do we know where it came from?  Truth be known, it came out of Rastafarian beliefs – which are, in it’s simplicity, derived from the Old Testament and African beliefs.  The term, “One Love” is another term used for the Rastafarian spiritual concept called “levity“.

Today, we hear the term used in everything.  It’s like a phrase epidemic. It is almost too overused in everything:  from music to screen tees, on coffee mugs.  The list never ends.  I think the most ironic part of the expression is how everyone has used it wrong. People today, really think “One Love” is all about them loving something or someone, or everyone.  But really, the truth is, they don’t know.

I remember in the 90’s there was the rapper NAS who wrote a song called “One Love” which spawned the term “One.”  Then there is the song, “One Love” by Bob Marley.  That song was pretty self explanatory.  There’s U2, of course;  and most recently, the term was used as a call for peace by the LGBTQ in response to the terrorist attack on the Pulse Night Club.

Looking back, just at these few things I notated, there is one thing in common:  a call for peace and the pursuit of love.  Tragic.  You have four different groups of people who have dealt with conflict.  The conflict ranges from violence to emotional heartache with no solution because it keeps happening.

Lately, I have been dealing with pain and heartache.  I don’t speak just of my own, but of others around me.  There are more than enough problems we all have as individuals, let alone the problems of others poured out on us.  Top all of that off with the obvious decline of the western world as we all watch people’s lives crumble and/or be destroyed; right in front of us on television or on our cell phones.  In my life time, I’ve seen war, I’ve seen our country attacked on our own soil, I’ve seen multiple mass shootings, home grown terrorist attacks; and now I am seeing a pattern of civil unrest between the African American community and law enforcement.

In this decline, I am reminded of a Biblical passage:

I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

– Revelation 2:3-5 (ESV)

In the past few years, I began to watch myself decline in my faith, moral standards, etc., etc., and so on and so forth.  But the seeds that were planted and watered that grew, never wilted.  This passage always has stuck with me as well as a few others and it speaks volumes.  It talks about all of us today as we naturally assimilate to this search for love in, well, all the wrong places.  We want just “one love” and it is right in front of us, all around us, already comforting us.  Yet we, in our narcissism and sin, forget.  God save the souls those who never remember.

I encourage those who have met Jesus before today, who are not walking close to Him:

  1. Who have replaced your love for Him with the love for another person, place, thing, or idea.
  2. Who have walked away from your faith because of being mistreated by the church.
  3. Who feel let down by God because what you thought you needed was never provided.
  4. Who hate God and blame Him for their problems or pain.

You will never find “one love” if you search with the world.  They are still searching.  What a sad feeling to never know Love.

There is only One Love.  Your First Love.  Your only Love.  Make Love a priority.

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