The scriptures are filled with exhortations to love one another. An example from St. Paul is found in his Epistle to the Romans: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)
Some like to think of this as an incentive to outdo one another with love. Love is meant to be abundant. It is in love shared that we experience the face of God in one another.
An ancient rabbinic story tells of this love in action. My friend, Matthew, retells the parable like this:
“Long, long ago, when the world was still young, two brothers shared a field and a mill. Each night they divided equally the grain they had ground together during the day. One brother lived alone; the other had a wife and many children. Now the single brother thought to himself, ‘It really is not fair that we divide the grain evenly, as I have only myself to care for, and my brother has many mouths to feed.’ So each night he secretly took some of his grain to his brother’s granary.
But the married brother said to himself, ‘It really is not fair that we divide the grain evenly, as I have children to care for me in my old age, but my brother will have no one.’ So every night he secretly took some of his grain to his brother’s granary. As you may have guessed, both of the brothers found their supply of grain mysteriously replenished each morning.
Then one night they met each other halfway between the two houses and suddenly realized what had been happening all those years. They embraced with great affection as the truth dawned upon them. Legend has it that God witnessed their meeting and proclaimed: ‘This is a holy place, a place of love, and here it is that my temple shall be built.’ And so it was that the first temple was constructed on that site still revered to this day as the most sacred location for the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem.”
What a joy it is when we discover holy places founded on love. As John writes, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4: 7-8)