Works of Love – Week 4(b) – Love Abides Forever

Tonight we are wrapping up our discussion of Soren Kierkegaard’s Works of Love. We will be discussing excerpts 31 “Loves Like-for-like”, 32 “Love Abides – Forever”, and 33 “When Love is Secure” found in Provocations. Excerpt 32 “Love Abides – Forever” is taken from 1 Corinthians 13:13: “So faith, hope, love abide, these three. But the greatest of these in love” and 1 Corinthians 13:8: “Love never ends.” In other words, love waits, remains, continues, and endures forever. Kierkegaard tells us is that even if the Beloved breaks off the relationship or fails to reciprocate the love, so long as the Lover continues to love, the love remains. Love never fails even if the Beloved leaves. If there is a relationship where one party leaves, then the love of the Lover when looked at from the perspective of the past is futile for the break remains. However, seen from the perspective of the future or eternity, the break is not a break but rather a possibility that maybe the love will be reciprocated in the future.

Think about the parable of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32). The son breaks the relationship, but the Father’s love abides. The relationship is broken, but love remains. The Father’s love is not concerned with the past when the son rejected his love, but the future possibility of the son’s acceptance. Love remains regardless of the actions of the beloved. We also see love abiding in the Passion narratives when the disciples break the relationship with Jesus by their denial of him and their abandonment of him. But Christ’s love abides. The best modern example of Kierkegaard’s lesson is George Jones’ song “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” (Music is HERE, Lyrics are below.) In the song, the man’s love abides despite his rejection until he draws his final breath.

Our final selection is excerpt 33 “When Love is Secure.” Love is eternally secure because Love arises from the command that “you shall love.” Love must necessarily be based upon the absolute unconditional duty to love, otherwise it can be lost and is subject to change. But, as Kierkegaard points out, even in the shall, love can suffer whenever it becomes a habit. Habit is a blood-sucking, sleep-lulling danger than slowly diminishes the love of the Lover. And to avoid habit we need to be constantly reminded of Love, of our Beloved, and of our Duty.

SCHEDULE: Next Tuesday we will begin reading through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).

Dinner at 6. The menu is Brunswick Stew. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here!

He said “I’ll love you till I die”, she told him “You’ll forget in time”
As the years went slowly by, she still preyed upon his mind
He kept her picture on his wall, went half-crazy now and then
He still loved her through it all, hoping she’d come back again
Kept some letters by his bed dated nineteen sixty-two
He had underlined in red every single “I love you”
I went to see him just today, oh but I didn’t see no tears
All dressed up to go away, first time I’d seen him smile in years
He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today
You know, she came to see him one last time
Aww, ‘n’ we all wondered if she would
And it kept runnin’ through my mind “this time he’s over her for good”
He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today.

Bobby Braddock / Curly Putman

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