When I was growing up, our house in Guernsey had large lawns to the front and rear. My father used to deposit the grass cuttings on a six-foot wide raised bank between the driveway and the fence separating our garden from the grounds of the hotel next door. My sister and I soon found that the area where the grass cuttings had accumulated made a wonderful den in summer. We acquired an old piece of carpet to place on top of the grass, and we used to hide in our den, as it was barely visible from the house. We often looked longingly into the hotel grounds on the other side of the fence. This was a world we desperately wanted to explore, especially as we knew that the hotel had a swimming pool. But we never had sufficient courage to climb the fence, given the possibility of punishment if we had been caught.
I finally had opportunity to explore the grounds of the hotel some years later while staying there on honeymoon. I have subsequently stayed there several times, returning to celebrate our silver wedding, and then again with the family thereby allowing our children to enjoy the pleasures of the hotel and its swimming pool. Reflecting on the time it took me to reach the hotel grounds and the fact that it was love as a newlywed honeymooner that first took me there, I realised that there is a point we often miss in our faith journey. This is that love takes us places we never imagined or dreamed we would someday go. There is a danger that we come across fences that we simply do not have the courage to climb. But beyond the fence is a place where God’s love has already made a way. Brennan Manning wrote, “I could more easily contain the Gulf of Mexico in a whisky glass than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.” And as God touches us with His wild, uncontainable love, so our love for Him should also be uncontainable, so much so that it flows out of us to touch the lives of others.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV-UK)