The Evidence of Love: Response to A Case for Love film

The Evidence of Love: Response to A Case for Love film

Written and Voiced by: Caela Collins

Sweaterless

I found it.
The silver thread we’ve been tugging at, secretly anxious of its end.
Slowly growing in tangles, witnessing unraveled truth.
The woven fabric of this world coming undone.
Only to find that warmth never came from wearing knitted armor.
It came from the bare silver lining that took form in Adam’s dust.
Who knew that love’s loophole is what kept us clothed?
There’s no need to tie up loose ends with God’s thread.

Sweaterless, a poem by: Caela Collins

Today is Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, two commemorations that present a strong case for love. Going along the theme of noticing God’s love brought me back to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s call to action in the film A Case for Love: inviting us to take 30 days to practice love regardless of politics, religion, or ethnicity, because love is about all of us.

As we receive ashes on our foreheads, I wonder: How is love expressed within the context of our diocese? Who are we at our core, and in what ways has love molded us in Connecticut? I had to go deeper to understand how love guided us here to this place as a diocese. Putting PB Curry’s call to action, in action, led me to speak with coworkers and folks from the wider ECCT community to notice that silver thread we’ve been tugging at and find the evidence of love.

The Radical Love of Jesus

“We all have the capacity within our own lives to live out the love of Jesus and impact the lives around us in real and lasting ways.” ~Bishop Jeffrey Mello

Bishop Jeff has a background in social work, and as a clinician, he was trained to see a person, group, or organization holistically. They are not just one thing, but it’s their context, family life, health (physical/mental), and many other factors that lead to their disposition. From a social work lens, our Bishop Diocesan has honed in on a continuous discipline of deep, abiding love. What we learn from this is to love the whole person and not just the parts we agree with—love does not pick and choose who it reveals itself to. As he defined love in his context, the word that kept coming up was “sacrifice.” He expressed that sometimes we must sacrifice our own ease and comfort for wholeness. People pleasers show self-love in setting boundaries; in addiction, the sacrifice of immediate gratification is love for long-term health and wholeness; and putting on your own oxygen mask first reveals that the act of love is continuous; the work doesn’t end with yourself; it is the promise of healing and wholeness for everyone.

Storytelling is Truth-telling

“The conversation about love begins by the truth that we’re loved by God.” ~Bishop Laura Ahrens

Bishop Laura is an avid runner and swimmer. She understands that love contributes to a healthy way of life. In defining love, she was able to capture the idea of storytelling as truth-telling. From her context, love is a place of grounding, and when life disorients us, we are grounded by God’s truth in the divine love for us. We discussed the small moments and how they manifest in kindness, silly adventures, and sharing stories, which allow people to feel cared for. Our Bishop Suffragan uses love as a mindful grounding practice: being aware of God’s creation as a witness of love with the fresh air pumping in her lungs and the feel of water as she does laps in the pool.


Love in Human Form

Showing up consistently can show a person that you really do care about the longevity as they proceed through life. They don’t have to suffer alone.” ~Cyra Borsy

I had the pleasure of speaking to Cyra Borsy (a Candidate for the Diaconate) to better understand her perspective on love as a beautiful, healing experience. Immediately, she deemed love an act of selflessness, even when we come across individuals who are comfortable not living in a space of love. Which allowed us to dive deeper into the idea of comfort: are you truly comfortable when you live on the outskirts of the realm of love? To answer, it all boils down to how love, or the lack of it, shows up in the body. Living outside of love can feel like one’s norm when exposed to trauma, leading us to a sense of empathy/sympathy with that knowledge. What must that feel like in your body or muscles? How love lives in the human body both physically and emotionally reveals that living a life in fear leads to pain, where anger emanates. Living in love is a release and exhale that allows you to relax. Showing unconditional love and speaking certain truths in difficult spaces is where love can create a space of ease to help shift the narrative of a world that lacks love.


Unlocking Resistance

“At the heart of all their traditions when they’re at their best, is the golden rule: do or don’t do unto others you want done unto you. Love people the way you want to be loved. It’s an understanding as a reflection of the divine by serving that reflection.” ~The Reverend Mark Lingle

St. Francis, Stamford, is a parish that leans into and uplifts diversity because, as they plainly state on their website, it was God’s idea. A large part of love is trying to understand our neighbors. Sometimes there is resistance to venturing out or acting on our curiosities when learning about a way of life that is different from our own, but something magical happens when walls are torn down. The Reverend Mark Lingle gave me some insight on the benefit/beauty of interfaith connection: when you look beyond the surface level, surprisingly, you’re able to see how many similarities there actually are. We discussed how learning about other faiths can provide further learning about our own. He also noted that we learn more about ourselves when we learn about others. The interfaith reality is that we aren’t seeking to convert but come together for the greater purpose of caring for God’s community.


From Hands to Hearts

“I want people to see themselves as an image of God’s creation.” ~Marc-Yves Regis

If you haven’t already met him, Marc-Yves Regis, is our diocesan Photographer. You will see him at many of our diocesan events behind his camera. As an artist, his craft allows him to capture special and intimate moments of love across ECCT. Even I, as the Digital Storyteller who’s usually behind the scenes, am in awe of the moments of love Marc captures: joyful hugs, moments of connection, and ECCT folks expressing the love of Jesus to one another. When discussing love from a photographer’s viewpoint, Marc-Yves expressed how he always seeks to find people in the best way by showing them at their best. His lens of love also extends to the photographs he takes of Camp Hispaniola, a summer camp he began in 2009 in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Even in his camp photos, you can see his talent in showcasing the natural beauty of God through humanity.


The Timeline of Love

“Love as being an ideal: it has a meta nature that it is the norm for all feelings. Concern fits in, connection, care, goodness, faith, all the things that we cherish as virtues and values are all under the umbrella of love- it’s a transcendent feeling.” ~Greg Farr

In an impromptu conversation with Greg Farr, ECCT Archivist, and Paul Eaton Hamilton, St. Mark’s Archivist (Bridgeport), I gained a valuable viewpoint on love in a historical context. Paul spoke with me about St. Mark’s, founded in 1920, and how challenging America in the 20s and 30s was for people of color. However, when you look at the historical-faith context, these Black Episcopalians focused on a mission to create a community of believers; they held together their equanimity to create a loving community. To reiterate that storytelling is truth-telling, we must be mindful of shifting the narrative of love. Love is ever-present and has the power to survive in desolate circumstances. But to be rooted in its power, we must understand and be attentive to a multitude of varied experiences where love was an act of preservation for some, and an act of revelation for others.

Our Archivist, Greg, noted that truth sits underneath our many cogwheels of stories and calls us to greater understanding. The more we learn to explore our past, the better equipped we are to be saints of the church. Looking at our context within the Episcopalian faith, we have consistently weighed in on the balance of things, finding a middle way. It is finding the middle way that is an act of love.

As we all explored love through the span of time, we concluded that it has always persisted with our knack for balance in a world that we simultaneously could and could not control. In the end, it all boiled down to knowing that the most important factor of love was being able to cash in on a priceless vibe and find your people.

And we are each other’s people, as we receive ashes today and eat just one more piece of Valentine’s Day candy before we put it away for Lent. May the next 40 days be a time when you notice that silver thread that ties us together, that tethers us to God’s, that gives us a focal point to notice God’s love. Let this be the evidence of our love.

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