January 2018

“If God so loved the world, we also ought to love one another.” I John 4:11 RSV
A great Christian scholar and effective pastor wrote, “The word love, as it is used in the biblical texts, has two obvious qualities. John the master teacher on love…taught that (real) love has its origins in God (we love because he first loved us I John 4:11) And love is in relationships with other persons (“If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”)
Love is not a word that describes my feelings.
Love is not a technique, by which I fulfill my needs.
Love is not an ideal, abstract and pure, on which I (only) meditate or discourse (talk).
Love is an active (growing, maturing relationship) correspondence with or in response to God in
relation to person.” (from Traveling Light) Love is more than just a word that describes our feelings; is not focused on ourselves, sacrifices for others, sees the larger picture; and love takes form in reality; we show and share it, as Christ taught us.
Love doesn’t really exist in isolation; love leads to sharing, stretching, and growing. I think of many people I have known who believe, love is a verb. Love requires a decision and decisions from us to choose how we will relate with other people. It inspires us to remain assertive and engaged. As Christians, we choose to relate compassionately as God has related with us. It is embodied in the ways we actively listen and seek to understand one another and in how we share life and compas-sion in friendships.
Christ came to us in a form of love found in the vulnerability of a child. God made it easier for us to approach and accept him; God reached out and continues to reach out to us. “The word became flesh, and moved into the neighborhood.” John 1:14
That same author from above, encourages us to understand that as people of faith, we are histori-cal people who remember how God has been at work in the lives of people down through the ag-es. God worked and works in the lives of real people. God does things. “God wasn’t (just) a blurred glow of sentiment; God wasn’t (just) an abstract thought or concept. God was, (is and will be) per-sonal in history: creating, directing, saving, blessing. God entered (and enters) the affairs (the lives and hearts) of women and men, and when he does, he judge and saved, called to account and blessed. Most of all God loved (and loves).” (from Leap Over a Wall)
In January, the focus of our worship and meditations on Sunday will be around the understanding of what love is. I pray you will join us, as Matthew and I focus on this important dynamic of our faith. God is personal (from Leap Over a Wall): God is at work in our lives. “God’s eye is on those who re-spect him, the ones who are looking for his love.” (Psalm 33:18) God is not blurred sentiment, or an abstract concept….“God is personal in our lives and history – creating, directing, saving, blessing. God enters the affairs of men and women, and when he does, he judges and saves, calls into
account and blessed. Most of all God loves.” In the coming year, may we all grow in the ways we love as God taught and teaches us in Jesus Christ. – Tim