Love came, but they didn’t notice. They were too busy weaving armour from barbed wire – first the left arm, then the right, and a triple thickness to guard the heart. Love wasn’t wanted.
Love came, but it wasn’t invited. Generals and admirals were invited, and canny politicians, and young men angry with the whole wide world. Self-love paraded openly, obscene and garish, and they all applauded his dizzying pirouettes. But when Love was noticed it was thrown out the door, and they all congratulated themselves. “This is no time for weakness,” intoned the politicians, clutching their lapels, and the journalists nodded, frantically taking notes. They decided to hold a street parade to prove their point, but there were armed security guards to make sure love didn’t slip in anywhere.
Love came, and was laughed at. “How can you possibly be serious? Love them? Ridiculous!” Love was obviously the most absurd idea that the universe had ever heard of. You mustn’t allow frivolity to undermine the morale of the troops. And they marched in tune to the drumbeats of their hate, and the thumping of their feet sent forth a shockwave of fear. Not one of them had the power to cast out fear, so they breathed it and transmuted their weakness to a cold and bitter strength.
Love came, and watched. In Ethiopia, in Sarajevo, in Rwanda, on the West Bank, in Auschwitz, on the slave ships, in famine and pestilence, wherever there were sieges or witch hunts, in the pogroms and the race riots .. Love watched. And Love wept – so many, many tears that all the oceans of the world were turned to salt. Love wept for the terrified and the lonely, and the ones who writhed in agony, for the violated women and the broken men, for the little children and the abandoned elderly, for the missionaries of hate whose hearts had turned to ice, and were too afraid to thaw.
Love came. In the loveliness of sunrise and the innocence of birdsong, Love whispered to the world. Love held the hands of the dying, offering them a promise, and breathed courage into the tortured and bereft. Love found a language to convey the horror of the moments, to proclaim it to the conscience of the world.
Love came and spoke to the harbingers of hate and told them of the folly. And the haters were angry, and declared Love to be a traitor, seeking to turn the hearts of men away from their righteous cause.
And still Love came. And they poured out all their hate and anger on Him, they lashed Him with their bloated pride, and scorned Him for wearing their pain. They hurled Him into their darkness, and did their utmost to destroy Him. They thought that they had done with Love forever.
And still Love came – and the darkness could not contain Him, or turn Him aside from His purpose. All the tears of the world are in His keeping, and he will call in the accounts for every drop of blood that has been shed, and for every heart or mind that has been broken. He has stretched Himself to meet the measure of our night, and declared all the sorrow of the world to be a thing that shall pass like a cloud on a summer’s day.
And then the night shall end, and Love shall shine in splendour. Love has come.