Love as the core of the diaconal dimension of the church
CITATION: Eurich, J. 2015. Love as the core of the diaconal dimension of the church. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 71(2):1-6, doi:10.4102/hts.v71i2.2778.
The original publication is available at http://www.hts.org.za
Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
This article will discuss different understandings of love. In particular, two modern perceptions of love will be differentiated: love as consisting of individual, often inconstant, emotions between human beings, and a Christian understanding of love, which is often expressed through caring for other members of the community. Aspects of Christian love will then be examined in ethical terms, emphasising the relevance of love for the diaconal dimension of the church. Before one is able to help one’s neighbour, one first has to be actively identified within the complex social structures of society. Next, the nature of diaconal action has to be defined and adapted to individuals who are in need, or who have become needy or been disadvantaged by society, for example, migrant workers, refugees or asylum seekers. A central aspect of diaconal action – in addition to meeting basic needs – lies in giving a voice to such individuals and in empowering them, including politically, to represent their own interests in public life.