In my last post, on the case of Jimmy Savile, I wrote about the dark side of celebrity.
We live in a society obsessed with celebrities – the gods of this secular age.
And we try to convince ourselves that fame would guarantee entry into a perfect region of love, wealth and success. Yet the reality for the famous themselves is often not as appealing as we might think.
“It is strange,” observed Albert Einstein, “to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.”
The cure for loneliness, we are led to believe, is love.
And in our midst, there are those who feel unloved and unlovable. These people may not take a recognizable form. The most attractive people may be among those who feel unloved and unlovable. The rise of depression, anxiety and stress in our society provides ample evidence of this – as does the incidence of poor body-image, low self-esteem, and eating disorders such as anorexia.
It is rare to find love that is not conditional.
“All you need is love,” sang the Beatles. And as it happens, I’m listening to them singing those very words right now as I write this.
But the love we need must be unconditional.
Unconditional love is a very difficult concept for human beings to grasp. Only divine love can be unconditional.
The love of God can work through the most unexpected people – and that includes people who are not religious, and have nothing whatsoever to do with churches.
So it may indeed be that the cure for all this is unconditional love.
Compassion, humility, and gentleness are not the exclusive province of religious people.
I believe we taste something of that unconditional divine love in any place where compassion, grace, love and faithfulness are to be found.
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