Responsive Reading: Light of Love
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Light of Love is inspired by bell hook’s Spirituality: Divine Love essay in All About Love. I consider this piece to be both a Responsive Reading and an Affirmation Prayer. This piece can be tweaked for “we” instead of “I”, for example. In any case, bell hook’s Divine Love essay resonated with me. She is relentless in her critical critique of capitalism and pointed about its effects on society. She is clear on what the solution should be: Love.
Light of Love, like bell hook’s essay lays out the ugly truths or puts the vampire into the sun – so to speak. The naming of our faults as a society helps us better appreciate how far we are from where we need to be – so we can be motivated (not discouraged) to keep advocating for a higher moral standard that honors our interdependency and humanity.
Bell hooks essay pushes us to face the contradictions between what we say are important and what we actually worship (money and power, for example). Facing contradictions is not always easy, but this is about love. And as Adrienne Maree Brown says, “perhaps the most common false assumption about love is that it means that we will not be challenged or changed.” Bell hooks understands that loving is challenging, and change is difficult. Her advice on being up to the task is to exercise our spiritual muscle and create or rededicate ourselves to spiritual practice which she asserts will provide the needed strength to take on this worthy work.
Just as there is not one single emotion felt, there is no one single (right) answer. This is where Light of Love can help. As a Responsive Reading and Affirmation Prayer, it can help a group or individual confess ugly truths and speak positive change into being. This is the kind of change bell hook’s is imploring us to make. A change that places love (being loving/loving kindness) and community well-being as the priority and where self-serving, exploitative oppression is perceived with disdain instead of as an accomplishment.