Immoderate Love

Want me to love in moderation.
Do I look moderate to you?

So sings Florence and the Machine.

They say, “moderation in all things.”

Florence isn’t so sure.

There is nothing moderate about
“until death do us part.”

There is nothing moderate about,
“laying down your life for a friend.”

There is nothing moderate about love.

Love is excessive,
over the top,
all consuming,
breaking restraints,
all or nothing,

No wonder Florence sings,

Want me to love in moderation,
well who you think you’re talking to?

So Florence invites her listener to …

bow your head in the house of God …
who do you think you are?
You think you need it, you think you want love,
You wouldn’t want it if you knew what it was.

There is nothing safe about love.
It’s a dangerous thing.
Most precious things usually are.

So Florence can’t see the worth
of a love in moderation.
It seems like a contradiction in terms.

But that leaves her wondering,

And I’m still try’na figure out if love
Always, always, always has to hurt.

Well … yes.

But perhaps more than Florence knows.

In the second verse of the song, Florence sings,

I never made it with moderation
No, I’ve never understood
Oh, the feeling was all or nothing
And I took everything that I could

An immoderate love of taking will hurt,
because, in the end, it exhausts and depletes
the one loved.

What if the immoderation was not in taking,
but in the giving?

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son.

There is nothing more cosmically immoderate
then the love of the Creator for creation.

There is nothing more excessively extravagant
then the love that calls all things into being.

And yes, Florence, that kind of love
always, always, always has to hurt.

St. Paul said,
“And now faith, hope and love abide, these three;
and the greatest of these is love.”

Paul is right.
The greatest of these,
indeed the foundation of these,
the telos of it all,
is love.

And it always, always, always has to hurt.

Lent is a time of moderation.
But not when it come to love.
Never when it comes to love.

You see, Lent is on the way
to the most extreme act
of immoderate, painful love.

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian, a retired CRC campus minister, the founder of the Wine Before Breakfast community, and farms with Sylvia Keesmaat at Russet House Farm.He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

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