The Last Station

Tonight in between fireworks displays from our glass house over the Mississippi River in Iowa, we watched the movie The Last Station about the last years of Leo Tolstoy and his wife Sofya. It is an extraordinary film, very well done. It mostly describes the conflict between Tolstoy’s movement, his “new religion” and values of family, especially his love for his wife. It was not easy for him, nor is it for anyone who loves a cause.

After living passionately nearly 60 years in this world, and having lived the majority of my life in service to principles and ideas maybe best described by Thomas Berry in his book called The Great Work, what this movie about Tolstoy makes me want to say as I am reflecting upon it is this: always chose personal, human love over love of a cause. I speak from personal experience. Before writing this I asked myself, “did Jesus live like that?” since he is the standard I personally hold for my deepest reflections on such questions. I think yes, he did. He chose personal love, love for those he broke bread with and taught to and walked with over love of a religion. Because he loved the people, he defied the religion which excluded them and its hypocritically pious leaders, and he died for it.

But no matter how Jesus’s life is interpreted, I say this for myself. Choose personal, human love over love of a cause. Love incarnated is the love to choose. I stand with this.

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