Agape Research   

Agape - definition


by Rolf A. F. Witzsche

Agape is an ancient term that is frequently used to refer to the primitive celebration of Christian fellowship. This fellowship is itself but reflection of a similar kind of fellowship being celebrated in much earlier times when the celebrations of fellowship, which usually occurred over a common meal, became somewhat like a love feast, called Agapai.

The idea of the love feast was elevated by the Apostles to a higher sense of expressing love, a sense of unconditional, self-giving, universal love, reflecting the all-embracing universality of divine Love. This higher sense of Agape is beautifully expressed by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians (1st Cor. 13).

1 Though I speak with the tongues
of men and of angels, and have not
charity, I am become as sounding brass,
or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all
knowledge; and though I have all faith,
so that I could remove mountains, and
have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods
to feed the poor, and though I give
my body to be burned, and have not
charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind;
charity envieth not; charity vaunteth
not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly,
seeketh not her own, is not easily
provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth
in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all
things, hopeth all things, endureth
all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether
there be prophecies, they shall fail;
whether there be tongues, they shall
cease; whether there be knowledge,
it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy
in part.

10 But when that which is perfect
is come, then that which is in part
shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as
a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child: but when I became
a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass,
darkly; but then face to face: now
I know in part; but then shall I know
even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity,
these three; but the greatest of these
is charity.

The sense of reverence that we find here, for the 'majesty' of this higher sense of love, gives rise to still another meaning for the term, Agape. That meaning is directly implying a sense of awe. It defines an attitude or state of wonder, of the kind that leaves one with one's mouth gaping in expectation or in rapped attention.

 I find all of these aspects reflected in the scientific search for discovering the divine Principle of universal Love reflected in human affairs. The brightest periods in history were related to society's tallest attainments along this line. The Golden Renaissance was the direct result of it. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, that ended the Thirty Years War in Europe which became one of the worst wars in history, stands today as one of the brightest examples of all times, of the political implementation of the principle of universal love in the recognition of all nations as being equal and perfectly sovereign. The Treaty of Westphalia was sealed with the mutual forgiveness of all debts. Can you imagine this? This treaty is still regarded to the present day as the foundation for all modern civilization.

The Principle of universal Love is also reflected in the founding of the United States of America. It became its guiding light in the form of the general welfare principle that became enshrined in the very Preamble of its Federal Constitution. The implementation of this principle, whenever it was pursued, gave the nation the means to develop itself into the richest, most powerful, and the most admired society in the world.

My series of five novels, the Lodging for the Rose, is focused on the still taller challenge, that of implementing the principle of universal Love in the grassroots social domain, where it has never been implemented before. In today's deeply fractured world where humanity has become isolated into countless self-centered domains,  locked into cross domain struggles with a background of tens of thousands of nuclear bombs being wielded, the wider and deeper implementation of the principle of universal love becomes therefore evermore essential. And why shouldn't we pursue this principle to the fullest extent. What gave light to the brightest periods in our history is very much needed today. We need it to rescue ourselves.

In profoundly real terms the continuation of our civilization, if not humanity's as a whole, hangs in the balance today. Which way it will swing will most likely be determined by our success in implementing that higher expression of, Agape, that has ever been achieved before on this planet.

I would like to suggest that we can score ourselves a victory. It is within our humanity to achieve great wonders in the world, and it is our capacity to achieve those wonder quickly, even to cross in the space of an instant whatever distances may lie between us that would hinder our love.

Rolf, A. F. Witzsche 

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Cygni Communications Ltd.