Friday, April 13, 2018

Love Which Expands {dorcas lane and gabriel cochrane}

via Pixabay
"I believe that love expands our world."

Dorcas Lane says this to Gabriel Cochrane in Lark Rise to Candleford, after he explains to her that he loves his work to the exclusion of all other loves. Dorcas disagrees with his assessment; she thinks that love is a different thing entirely. 

If Dorcas Lane slipped into our Bible Study Fellowship, her gorgeous belts, chic hats, and feminine shirtwaists might be a little out of place. (I'd dress up with her style any day.) But I think she'd find a resonating answer in the pages of Romans. The last few weeks we have been studying how to love the body. And that means loving those different than us; loving those weaker than us (Romans 14); loving our enemies (Romans 12). 

There is no time in the Christian life where we can look at the world around us and say "I have no one to love." 

Set just on the cusp of the upcoming 20th century, Lark Rise embodies all that is beautiful in its small-town stories and wind-tossed harvest fields. It's a BBC adaptation of a book I hope to read someday. There are many beautiful points; many tear-jerking moments. But one of the beautiful plot lines in Season 4 is Gabriel Cochrane's character arc. 

Gabriel Cochrane comes to Candleford after having his father's foundry confiscated for debts that he cannot pay. He is devastated by the loss of his young wife. And as he tries to make a new life in Candleford, he often rubs Dorcas the wrong way because of his loveless-ness. 

Gabriel believes he can only love one thing. When his wife was alive, he loved her so much he betrayed his financial stability and his word to please her. Now that she is gone, he thinks that he is no longer able to love people. So he throws himself into his work and loves that, to the inconvenience of other people's schedules and impatience towards a little boy who looks up to him. 

Dorcas finally confronts him. 
"Love is not a selfish need; not a hunger that must always be fed. Love should not exclude. It should make our lives broader; our hearts wider. What kind of love is it that would lock us away from those around us?" -Season 4, Episode 4
This is truth. Gabriel's love is really warped love. Warped love gathers about it the people and objects of its possession like treasured idols, refusing to expand or allow them to expand. Warped love is willing to allow other people to suffer for the sake of the comfort of one. Or even allowing the one to suffer for the sake of the comfort of the many. Warped love sets up barriers and comfort zones and walls.

But if you dive into Scripture, you see a different picture of love entirely. God inextricably links love for him with love for his people (1 John 4:21). We're called to love the body. To love the unlovable. To love even in a way that sacrifices some of our lesser loves on occasion (Romans 14). Christian love does not shut its heart. Doesn't sees someone approaching the table and say, "I have no room for you." Doesn't say, "My world is complete. I don't need any more people."

"I don't need." Surely a warning sign.

When I love only within my little exclusive circle, like Gabriel Cochrane, then I am actively showing hate to those I refuse to let in. Warped love has borders. As Dorcas says, passion has borders. Love is something else entirely. Love is not collecting people who contribute only to my praise. Not talking only to those who share my exclusive little hobbies and areas of excitement. Not solely fellowshipping with my select gathering. Not using people's goodwill just to forward my own ambitions. Love is extending the love of God to all whom God brings to me....a broader, wider love as described on the lips of a wise postmistress.

So Gabrial Cochrane, just because he cannot love one person, learns to show love to others. A little boy with his tempestulator. An employer who shows kindness to him again and again. His world expands. And an already endearing character is all the better for it. 

Would you add thoughts to this? I'd love to have my perspective expanded. 

Also, 3 reviews left on Amazon releases the first snippets of the War of Loyalties sequel! Have a favorite character? Criticisms? Overall impressions? (Honest reviews are the best!)


  1. Aww this makes me want to watch Lark Rise again! ^.^ I remember loving Gabriel's character. I love the entire show more for these kinds of conversations! They're always so thought-provoking. I agree with your assessment of love vs passion. I think it needs to be noted that just because love SHOULD have no borders doesn't mean it WILL. At least ... not without Christ's help. True limitless love is no natural thing. ;) Thanks for this post!

    1. They are! The relationships are the sweetest--the growing and the realistic sweetness. I love Queenie and Twister in Season 4 too, and of course, Alf and Minnie can't be beat. :D

  2. These are wonderful thoughts on love! What a sweet story. Someday I should watch that series.

    Thank you for a beautiful post.

    1. Thank you, dear. I'm loving exploring a new kind of blog post branding with these posts. I want to try it a little longer before making it official, but I think the book-themed contemplation posts are my new favorite thing.

  3. We just got all the Lark Rise to Candleford movies!! We love them! Dorcas Lane, Laura, Philip, Twister & Queenie! What's not to love? {It's our one weakness. ;)} If you love Lark Rise to Candleford, you'll also love Cranford. Just sayin'. ;) <3

    1. Ooo, I'm so glad you're enjoying them! I haven't watched a lot of them, but I need to watch a lot more! :D I love Cranford too! The small town stories with vivid characters are so wonderful and fun.


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