Let’s step back into the 80s and The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
This song is about agapē—pronounced ah-gap-ay—, or God's love, which is a very distinctive type of love when compared to the other 20 types covered in the book.
Before listening, let’s get a sense of agapē from Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice. Portia explains ‘mercy’ to Shylock in knowing he will kill Anthony when he cuts a pound of flesh from his breast:
She goes on...
When we apply these elements of ‘mercy’ to ‘agapē’ we find similarity. Agapē falls from heaven like rain, in that it issues from God above; it blesses (loves) those who receive it and God who gives it; it’s powerful when taken up by the recipient.
Beyond these elements, agapē generates value. All God creates is made valuable on receipt of His agapē.
Let’s now turn to the song which opens with an agreement between you and God. If you seek to love, He promises to love you and purge your soul. But, be sure, in God loving you, you will love Him as He is the aim of YOUR love in this song. And so His love blesses twice. It ‘blesses he that gives (God) and he/she that takes (you). God’s love, therefore, always returns to God.
The chorus [now sung by you] assumes you will take up God's offer and accept with God's help His driving out all human desire (to make you clean), whereupon you can love Him as He intends.
The chorus is fundamental to understanding this song and with it agapē. You the beloved are not passive in receiving agapē, nor loving God. You stand palms raised to Heaven giving yourself in mind, body, heart and soul to God to be loved, and loving Him in return.
In God loving you and you Him, He makes a second proclamation. He will protect you from mortal danger, look after you when your luck runs out and He'll be with you come what may. But you must reject envy and accept the beauty He gave you on your conception.
And how will it feel when you give yourself to Him? At first, there will be sparkling visions of existential beauty. Then you will feel love fill you as your soul is purified. In this all-consuming state, you feel awe-inspired as you enmesh with the divine. Now, there is a huge risk of losing one's self to His love, mixed with the immense joy of succumbing to the same.
Remember, agapē is a Godly power beyond the earthly. You are exposed to the awe of His spirit.
You will be overwhelmed as you're immersed in a love affair with the divine that you will never escape until He releases you, which theoretically could be never as agapē is as immortal as He is. The question is, will He release you, and if He does would you have wanted Him to?
To some, this song is so entangled in the Christian message it might seem meaningless in a secular world. And yet, you don’t have to be religious minded to be impressed, or take on the learning points, by this song and its lyrics. When lovers come together their love issues from one to the other and vice versa; in that, immense value passes between them. Their love is twice blessed—where the beloved loves the lover and vice versa—within a symbiotic community-of-two. And being loved is powerful; in the sense, love creates a joint-force in a hostile world; a safe-harbour for lovers to retreat to, and; brings about a sense of well-being for those loved.
Have a listen, watch the video and enjoy your trip back to 80s.
You'll find the lyrics here.