Reflecting on Unconditional Love….

It’s another rainy day, a good time to slow down and be lazy. It’s been almost two weeks since we returned from a youth retreat, and I can’t get one of the songs out of my head. So I was drawn to this unusual photo of Parfait and baby bunnies, taken by the folks at Rocky Ridge Refuge. Parfait is often featured in their photos, an example of a gentle dog that most folks misunderstand and often fear. In my experience, dogs aren’t born mean. Dogs learn to be mean because of how their owners treat them. This pitbull mix is about as far as you can imagine from the aggressive, antagonist animal bred to win money in illegal dog fights. Parfait is so gentle she wouldn’t even hurt a baby bunny. The high school students gathered at Shrine Mont for the weekend retreat were a lot like Parfait. Almost 120 students gathered from across the diocese to praise God and learn about unconditional love. The theme of the weekend was 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul’s great epistle on love. Some students headed on retreat rather than attend their high school proms; others gave up concert tickets or sports events. Yet what amazed me most was how these youth embodied unconditional love. Rather than expecting one another to conform to an artificial standard, this group accepted one another for who they were. By the end of the weekend, the whole group was joyously singing this song:

Unconditional Love

We know a place
where God’s people can run free
a new kind of love
and we call it agape

Don’t take too long to find
true love transcends all time
that non-reacting, everlasting love

Give me your unconditional love
the kind of love I deserve
the kind I want to return

Give me your unconditional love
the kind of love I deserve
the kind I want to return

Don’t try to change or tear your
brother down
let him make his mistakes
and he will come around
hasten just to pray and God’s true
Word to obey
in non-reacting, everlasting love

Give me your unconditional love
the kind of love I deserve
the kind I want to return

Give me your unconditional love
my torn heart to discern
this agape love to learn

Take time today to accept those you encounter for who they are, rather than who you expect them to be. Meet one another in peace, aspiring to offer the everlasting love that pours down from God the Father. Pray for the Holy Spirit to drench you, to teach you how to love one another as Christ loved us, to offer one another unconditional love. And remember, we all have days when we’re the pitbull, and days when we’re the baby bunny. Lyrics by Michael Omaritan and Donna Summer; Photo by Rocky Ridge Refuge, to learn more, go to http://rockyridgerefuge.com/; Retreat by Parish Youth Ministries (PYM), to learn more, go to http://diovayouth.wordpress.com/pym-101/

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mark lloyd richardson
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 12:25:30

    Dogs learn from their pack leaders – the people responsible for teaching them. That’s a very sweet picture of Parfait and the bunnies!

    Reply

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