Dangerous Love

Stephen Cottrell reminds us that the second place where scorpions are mentioned in the gospels is in  Luke 10:17-19

The Return of the Seventy-Two

17 When the seventy-two followers returned, they were excited and said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed when we spoke in your name!”

18 Jesus told them:

I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 I have given you the power to trample on snakes and scorpions and to defeat the power of your enemy Satan. Nothing can harm you.

Ah, so I wasn’t so wrong in my first assessment of the picture!

Jesus does not subdue the scorpion, but loves it.  For Jesus that means he has accepted God’s will, he can hold the thing that might kill him.  Cottrell suggests that the scorpion and the daisies are the two sides of one coin.  The ability to love one must include that ability to love the other (p60).  Powerful stuff!


43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.

Am I more picky in who and what I choose to love?  Do I only want the nice parts of life, without accepting the harder parts?  Am I selective with my love?  Loving only the easy to love, and not the dangerous?

By Wingchi Poon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

These thoughts are reflecting on Spencer’s painting The Scorpion (seen here at the bottom of the second page).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

~ by pamjw on March 1, 2013.

5 Responses to “Dangerous Love”

  1. so the abused must pray for the abuser? that’s a tough one…

  2. Wow, that is a tough one! Perhaps a better choice of word would have been risky? I was thinking of letting in people who may upset my life by making me think differently, or face something in me.
    Ultimately Jesus did pray for those who crucified him and asked God to forgive them – but Jesus did many things that remain aspirational to us, rather than being the reality of where we are at. God knows where we are at and why.
    I can’t adequately answer your question, because I haven’t been there. But it is a very good question. I know there are people I should love, and find it very hard to, but on a very different scale.
    Is there a circle of love and prayer? I may not be able to pray for someone who has hurt me too much, but someone else can? Is anyone beyond love and prayer?
    Many, many questions…
    But I guess that is the point of art, to make us ask questions.
    Thanks for making me thing some more

  3. no-one is beyond love and prayer – but suggesting to an abused person who has not yet processed what has happened can be abusive in itself and delay the healing process, often by decades – as the inability to pray as one thinks one ought can compound the sense of global guilt which is almost always the response of the abused. so maybe those who have not been directly abused can pray for both the abused and the abusers…

  4. I agree entirely that it should never be suggested to an abused person that they should pray for their abuser. That may come as an end result, or that place may never be reached. No one ever knows what is going off in someone else’s life, and we can never make prescriptions about what should and shouldn’t be prayed for and about, or what should be done. Similarly as we can’t tell anyone else how they should or shouldn’t react in a given situation, because we don’t know where they are, what wounds they are carrying etc.
    I’m sorry if I came across as suggesting something I never meant to.

  5. no Pam – you utterly didn’t come across that way – I just needed to make the point. I know how easy it is to pile up the guilt on someone – been on the receiving end myself too many times! Our God is a God of compassion and mercy – and I know you know that. 🙂

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