The Power of Love

Taking down some memorabilia from my bulletin board recently, I found a card my friends Page Simon and Daniel Kazimierski, both artists, sent after Donald Trump became President. One side of the card was a quote from Jimi Hendrix:

               When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.

The other was from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

               I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Sadly, their card was a prescient indication of worsening times, as this President takes every opportunity to foment hate, rather than love. The prevailing mistrust and animosity among Americans and throughout the world is frightening.

A few days after finding the card I watched Bishop Michael Curry deliver a sermon, “The Power of Love”  at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. He too quoted Dr. King:

We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way.

Although it was an occasion filled with romance and fairy-tale splendor, the Bishop used the occasion to remind us of love’s more universal power:

When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down, down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way, there’s plenty good room, plenty good room, for all of God’s children. Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well, like we are actually family.

While this state of universal peace and justice may seem unreachable, the Bishop reminded us that even slaves had faith in the redemptive potential of love, singing about “The Balm in Gilead.

In the Jewish religion, the daily prayer “V’ahavta," or "You Shall Love,” begins:

               You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.

Although the prayer continues with “instructions” on how to fulfill this obligation and an admonition to “observe all My commandments,” it most notably begins with love.

So perhaps love, in poetry and prayer, is the answer, if only we had the faith and courage to realize its potential.