In celebration of Valentine’s Day, here are a few choice quotes on love from the great Lutheran New Testament scholar, Rudolf Bultmann:

“An act of friendship or love is genuine only if I am really in the doing of it, and do not stand alongside it: only when I do not think of myself and my achievement, only when the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing: only when I think of absolutely nothing bu the person on whom I am bestowing it. A Work of love is fundamentally easy even when I exhort it from myself in certain circumstances with an effort: for in it I remain my old self [note, Meatloaf!]. The real act of love is fundamentally difficult and is not to be exhorted by any violence, as I give myself away in it, and attain my being only by losing it in this act of love”
– ‘Grace and Freedom’ p. 175-6

“The one who loves knows that the neighbor is uniquely his neighbor and that he cannot appoint another to do his loving for him”
– ‘The Historicity of Man and Faith’ p. 110

“This radical abandonment of self is not possible for man at all until the Divine Love confronts him as it gives of itself to him, until it reveals itself to him. For the revelation of God is simply the love which confronts man, liberating him fro himself in saving himself from himself… he who in faith is certain of the divine love, understands himself and his community with men simply on the basis of this love, and that it thus becomes the dominant and sustaining force of his life. In bringing one to himself, and liberating him from himself, God’s grace has liberated him for his neighbor.”
– ‘Forms of Human Community’ p. 302-3

“Love, as sheer existence for one’s neighbor, is possible only to him who is free from himself –i.e. to him who has died with Christ, to live no longer for himself but for him who for his sake died and was raised, and hence is obedient to the ‘law of Christ’, the love commandment.”
– Theology of the New Testament, vol. 1, p. 344
unrequited love