God is love, and those who live in God live in love and God lives in them…
These words from 1 John open the wedding service, and later on most couples choose the same reading from Corinthians that asks “What is love?” -it describes love as “patient and kind, not rude, proud or boastful, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, always trusts, always hopes, always keeps going… Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of these is love”.
So why is love the greatest? Well, I believe love is who God is and therefore is eternal, when all of creation is redeemed, restored and made new faith and hope will have been realised and be needed no more whereas love will continue on forever.
We love because we are made in Gods image, we love because “God first loved us and gave his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”… We often preach John 3:16 about the salvation message but we over look one key word “For God SO loved the world”, he is passionate and loves all he has made.
Sociologists tell us that although we need food, warmth and water to survive, we also need love without love babies don’t put on weight nor their brains develop properly. We were made for love.
Shane Claiborne was asked about celibacy once and said this amazingly profound thing, he said “human beings can live without sex, but no human being can live without love”.
I believe we were created by God to be loved, to be loved by him, and (to love and) be loved by one another. I believe God literally intended love to make the world go around… And it does.
This unexplained force, love, unexplainable by scientists can’t explain (in fact is a contradiction to the theories of a selfish gene) and universally acknowledged and believed in.
Yet for me as a Christian, I see love through the lense of Christ, who calls me to love one another as Christ has loved me, he calls me too to love my wife as Christ loved the Church (ouch!).
A U2 song talks about one man coming in the name of Love and is talking about Jesus.
Jesus, love with skin on.
Jesus, the very embodiment of love.
Jesus, the very personification of Love.
So how does Christ love us, and show his love for us? I believe it is primarily seen through his death upon the cross. Jesus said (again in defiance of the theory of the survival of the fittest) “no greater love has anyone than they lay down their life for their friends”… amazing that he calls us his friends… “You are my friends if you keep my commandments… I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know the masters buisness, instead I call you friends”.
So, let us think of the greatest love seen through Jesus laying down his life for those he loves. What do we learn from this? I think we see love defined and characterised by two things, 100% commitment that didn’t quit even when it cost him his life. 100% sacrifice that gave up everything dying naked on a cross his worldly goods being gambled for by his executioners.
What of us? Is our love defined by commitment?
What of us? Is our love defined by sacrifice?
When we love are we patient and kind, not boastful or proud, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs?
Do we love like Christ?
By this do all the world know we are his disciples by loving one another?
You know I can’t do this, I can’t love like this, I need Gods supernatual power to help and enable me to love like this, I can’t without Christs help, strength and power love my enemies (let alone my friends).
So today, we are reminded that we are love, and are called to love, we know that on our own and in ourselves we have not the resources to do this, but these awesome resources come from Christ who longs to pour out his love into us, so that we can pour it out into his world.