Now we come to the fourth of the Owl’s principal terms:
Freedom. The sequence of these terms, Faith then Covenant then Love then
Freedom, is intentional: Faith, God’s gift to us; the Covenant under which it
is lived in God’s steadfastness; Love, the power that keeps us turning toward
God and each other; then Freedom, the
sine qua non of Love.
Love is what turns a man’s wheels homeward at the end of the
work day, simply because he belongs with the people there rather than wherever
else. He is actually free to turn or not, or it is no love that drives him.
Love has to be freely given, or it is not love but something else; fear,
coercion, deception, but not love.
Back from hiatus, the Owl remembers his promise to clarify
What the Owl Is Trying to Say, under the key terms Faith, Covenant, Love,
Freedom, and Obedience. We are up to what is probably the biggest of all: Love.
Let us start with a curious fact: Nowhere in the New
Testament Greek, nor in the Septuagint (the most ancient Greek translation of
the Hebrew scriptures) do we find the word eros.
That word, which most of us learned is Greek for love simply is not there. The word for love in the New Testament is
Commentators make much of this word, but what they agree on is again, God’s
initiative. We love God because he first loved us. We love our fellow creatures
because we know God loves them enough to have created them, and now sustains
them, and sent his Son to show forth his love in the most poignant and