“L” is for Love (March 8, 2012)

…Opening To…

So daily dying to the way of self, so daily living to your way of love, we walk the road, Lord Jesus, that you trod, knowing ourselves baptized into your death: so we are dead and live with you in God. (Thomas H. Cain, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3; context)

…Filling Up…

This Lent, we are exploring our faith by running through the alphabet. Today, “L” is for love. Love is such a hard word to define. Is it an emotion? Is it an ability? Is it a state of being? Is it all of these and more?

First and foremost we get into trouble when we think of “loving” as a more intense version of “liking.” We all fall victim to this line of thought sooner or later, usually at first in high school. “Well, I like her but I don’t love her.” Or perhaps, “I like this top but I love those shoes.” When we mistake “love” for “liking a lot” we remove nearly all of the weight of the word. The Gospel according to John tells us that God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son. John doesn’t tell us that God liked the world a whole lot.

When we move past this high school version of love, we can find the deeper territory that love exists in. Far from being a simple emotion, love opens the door to the whole universe of emotion. When we love, we invest ourselves, we become vulnerable, we may become hurt. On the other hand, we may become filled with joy. The ability to love is the ability to look past yourself, to see the heart of God burning in the chest of another and to have that burning move you to trust, to connect, to sacrifice.

Each of us is connected to the other through the love of God, this love that is vulnerable yet full of joy. Because God loves each of us, we each have the ability to love in turn. Shutting the door to love means shutting the door to all emotion and replacing them with indifference and isolation. God does not desire this for us. God desires us to open the door, and, even though it comes attached with the possibility of both pain and joy, embrace God’s love.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you loved your whole universe so much that you sent your Son to bring us into closer relationship with you. Help me to discover your love burning in my chest so I can connect myself even deeper to you and those I meet. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, thankful that you continue to shine your light in my heart and mind, that I may continue to know you better through every way that you choose to reveal yourself.

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