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“All you need is…”

The first Anglican church minister whose parish I joined would habitually end his sermons with the refrain from a Beatles song: “All you need is love!” This became a bit of a joke between myself and another member of the congregation, as this congenial priest unfailingly delivered thoughtful, witty, and inspiring homilies; why repeatedly choose to top it all off with a sentiment that, while true enough, seems so trite?

As I now review a portion of my commitment to interfaith dialogue and activity between this past Christmas and the present Easter season, the simplicity of “all you need is love” beckons me with its wisdom:

I have participated in weekly McGill Students Interfaith Forum dialogue sessions (with a  3-day retreat in February), attended McGill Muslim Students Association Friday prayers, gathered with members of my diocese to join and create interfaith opportunities in Montreal, including a visit to Badr Islamic Center as well as a richly informative meeting with Tom Deerhouse, an Ojibwe-Mohawk from the nearby Kahnawake reserve, whose spirituality is informed by both Catholicism and traditional indigenous teachings. I have also been following a 5-month contemplative prayer in everyday life retreat at Montreal’s Ignatian Spirituality Centre led by Carl Krull, a Jesuit priest who, having recently returned from 50 years in India, seamlessly weaves Hindu and Buddhist wisdom into his Christ-centred teachings on contemplation.

Throughout this challenging load of volunteerism, contemplative sitting combined with reflection on discipleship has allowed me to clarify the greatest underpinning of these and all worthwhile efforts: love–love that it is present, shared with, and yearned for by all people everywhere, no matter the life circumstance or outlook. And if this message gets lost the first (or second, or third…) time around, the jolly pop refrain from the Beatles can indeed handily sum it all up.

As I renew my baptismal vows at tonight’s Easter vigil, I will reflect on the gift of love that has been quietly present and waiting for us throughout our lives, and I will align  myself with the spirit that infused the lives of Christ’s first disciples, who came to know love and decided to accept its cross so that others could also partake. Happy Easter…indeed, love is all you need.


Afra Saskia Tucker

About Afra Saskia Tucker

I am Development Coordinator at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College. Blessed with a multi-cultural family and an inclination to learn about other faith traditions, I have learned from my life experiences here and abroad that encounters with people of different faiths, beliefs, and cultures are in fact essential and enriching to my own faith journey.
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6 Responses to “All you need is…”

  1. Afra Saskia Tucker

    Thanks Jesse. Yes, love has everything to do with it. :) As for the Tina Turner citation, I was asking someone  just very recently how to interpret the bit about a ‘second hand emotion’ because that’s definitely not how it feels to me!

  2. Well, no. I suppose one could lean on the concept that the God who is love is the source of love, but in the end, it seems to me that love as enabled by God must be wrapped up in life and new birth… anything but “second hand.”

  3. Sorry Afra, not good enough. If it were, then good, ethical people would find ‘salvific favour in God’s eyes.  Love is of course absolutely necessary, but so are Faith, and Hope – belief in Christ our God and Saviour and in His Kingdom (both within us now and to come.)Check out  ICor13  and John 17.

    Happy and (western) Eastern to you all! The LORD is Risen!

  4. Kyle Norman

    I used to quote What’s love got to do with it – then I noticed the lyrics.  The chorus is:

    It’s physical. Only Logical

    You must try to ignore that it means more than that

    Oh! What’s love go to do, got to do with it

    What’s love, but a second hand emotion

    What’s love got to do, got to do with it

    Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken.

    In reality, Tina sings not about the supremacy of love, but about the futility.  It is a song of loveless passion and broken hearts. 

    I sometimes have wondered if we have adopted this attitude in the church – where faith becomes about the list of things we believe in, and church attendance about sitting in the pews and mouthing the appropriate words.  What’s love got to do with it?  I’m here, I have my pew. I pay my tithe. 

    And yet Jesus calls us to so much more.

  5. Afra Saskia Tucker

    Charlie: I’m happy to let God decide what is good enough when it comes to the salvation of anyone, inclusive of good ethical people. I prefer to focus on showing gratitude to those who are loving towards God’s creation, as I believe that is a very powerful way to show love to God.

    Kyle: I believe in the blessedness of the poor in spirit. Broken hearts are exactly where God is most welcome, needed, and redemptive.

  6. Afra Saskia Tucker

    And thank you all for your comments 🙂

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