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Calling all Lovers

by Beverly Dale

We are all familiar with the “go forth and multiply” passage in Genesis. These are the parting words of God to the first two earth creatures who had made the choice to know good and evil rather than remain obedient. Subsequent readers took these words to mean sex was primarily to procreate to fill the earth with as many children as possible. In times when laborers are needed, this fills an economic and social need, sometimes a military one as well if warriors are needed. Other readers interpret this to mean we are not to use birth control because we would be disobeying a Divine order from God. Not having been there to hear the inflection however this is obviously open to interpretation, especially in light of the pressing ecological concerns of an overcrowded planet with diminishing resources for survival. And lastly, there are those who would use this passage to remove the pleasure from sexual activity making it utilitarian instead. In this view one has sex only because there is a purpose to it (having babies.) Indeed many of the misogynistic men who are called church fathers by some taught sex was an odious task a man was required to do but which, due to its temptations, also had grave spiritual consequences.

I would like to suggest that none of these interpretations are helpful in developing a sex-positive and sexually responsible ethic. None exhibits a belief in a God of abundance and pleasure. And, one view of the vast diversity of the creation, both in earth’s people and in plant and animal life shows Divinity to be sensual and  appreciative of diversity. After all God sent male and female into the wider creation to be the caretakers, to nurture the plants and care for the animals and one another. Is it possible that this God, whom the Bible says walked each evening in the garden with them,  created a sensual humanity in God’s likeness so we might appreciate the gardens of life? So what if the meaning of those words was instead; “Go forth and make love.”?     

“To go forth and make love” is to notice and appreciate the smells, the touches, the colors, the sounds of a bountiful world. It is to savor each new breath as the gift of life. It is to feel the caress of a loved one and to know the goodness of love and pleasure of joy. It is to appreciate the joy of simple gifts and to live in the present moment, sensually. Making love to the world and to one another is to refuse to believe some of us are better than the others or that some deserve more than others. To make love is to enter into our lovemaking wholeheartedly, with zest and enthusiasm instead of guilt or shame, with honesty and transparency instead of hiding grudges or secrets, with respect and mutuality instead of wielding power or playing gender games. It is to be willing to risk and be vulnerable to one another and in that lovemaking to discover the sacred in the ordinary, the beauty in the simple, the transcendent in the immanent.

There is no question that our world is groaning in agony from its fears and terrors of scarcity and loss. But it would be so different if we made love with our eyes, our touch, and indeed, with all our senses with those we meet each day. Surely, exhibiting the abundance of Love would make the world a better place.

Each new day is to stand at the garden gate and look out to an unknown world. It is to hear the voice of the Divine pushing us forward saying “Now go into the world and make love to all you meet. Celebrate Love’s abundance.”

May it be so.