Clearly it was no easy task that Jesus took on. I am constantly thinking about my own struggle to experience the presence of Christ within myself. The gospels are full of stories about this experience; how Jesus was berated, mocked, scorned and immobilised on a cross to name a few. How often do we do this to the Jesus in ourselves? That part of us that always tries to act in a higher way, that part of us which yearns for purity. We must ask how it was possible for Jesus to bear all this. The answer also tells us how we can recognise the presence of Christ in this world, in us and in each other.

The clue is in St John’s Gospel, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jn 15:12

There are four different Greek words for love.

1. Eros – Erotic physical love. This is a passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The procreative urge arises for survival of the species.

2. Philia – Brotherly and sisterly love which can be supportive and nurturing but also exclusive. It is usually a gentle, life-giving love that is found in true friendship.

3. Storge – Love of family, tribe and nation. It can be defensive and aggressive to those outside the group. This is the kind of love we also find in the animal kingdom.

4. Agape – Divine love, Christed love, this is the love expressed by those who experience the highest in themselves, they express it without fear or favour. It speaks of unification and intense compassion. It may not always be interpreted as love because in its expression it can cut like a sword.

Trying to identify each of these types of love in our lives can be very revealing. The more we can experience and express agape the more we will become aware of the presence of Christ. In Australia at the moment all the churches seem to have joined together to promote Jesus I can’t help but wonder what would be the effect of a campaign called Christ all about love.

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