When Love Was Born!
When Jesus wanted to zero in on what was most important and really matters, he said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and you shall love your neighbor as yourself” It is a command, and it’s worth reflecting on the fact that love can be commanded – so love isn’t a fleeting emotion you feel or don’t feel; it is something you really are able to be and do! But there is the future hint in “You shall love.”
Maybe you don’t think you love God and neighbor just now, but within your heart, soul, strength and mind there is the possibility of love.
God had a choice when God created everything. God could have insisted on God’s will always being done. We could have been puppets, unable to do anything except God’s bidding. God chose not to be in control in such a way because God decided to seek our love – and you can’t control love. Love always requires the giving up of power. You have to wait and let the other love you – or not. God constantly isn’t loved. But God risks the heartbreak. God invites us, and pleads with us, to love God and each other. The reason?
The very marrow of God’s being isn’t power or law or even greatness. The core heart of God is love, unfathomable love, unending love, unlimited love – and it is this love that fashioned the universe with all its magnificence and beauty, and it is this love that wove you together in your mother’s womb and has been behind, beneath, above and before you for every breath you have taken. The only conceivable reply to such love is … love.
Evidence of God’s love is all around you, and inside you – and God’s need for your love is inside you too. All your life you’ve needed, sought, and been downright desperate for love. God made you this way as an echo of God’s own heart. You are your loves; your identity is that you are beloved – by God and others. Love doesn’t shield us from suffering, but love can and will take it. God suffers over our broken world, and God suffers our busy, presumptuous taking God for granted – but God can bear this, because God loves. When we get the mercy, we will love God.
If you recall falling in love: love is reckless, love doesn’t count the cost or keep score. Love is like a flame that consumes our very lives. Love loves with every fiber of our being. Deuteronomy 6:4 says we are to love God with heart, soul and strength. Jesus added a fourth: mind. How do we love God and neighbor?
Contemplate God, your life, other people – and begin now to be attentive for signs of love: some will be like old friends, some barely detectable, some only now emerging, with the deepest love for God maybe nothing more than a dream, or a prayer. Pray for love. That prayer itself is love.
To prepare your spirit for worship this coming Sunday I encourage you to take time and listen to “When Love Was Born” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKSU9Dbxvrw and read Luke 3:1-18.
P.S. Hope to see you at Night In Bethlehem tomorrow from 4:00 – 7:00PM