A usually irate parishioner is said to have tackled the rector after church one Sunday morning. "I'm so glad you preached an historical sermon," she said. The rector, shocked by this unusual praise beamed thanks. The parishioner continued, "Yes, because I am sick and tired of hearing about love all the time."
Is it possible that we have not got the message about love yet in the Church? As I approach this Sunday, I cannot help but think that we in the Church, know what, love is and therefore we lack the obedience that God demands of us because we have tuned out and shut down because we think that we have it all together. We have certainly learned that God sent his Son so that Jesus could die for us. Some will understand that there is life after the cross and the grave. But how many will know that they need to continue to stop and listen? Or let’s think of it another way: love expresses itself in obedience and obedience will express itself in love. And if this is so, let me ask you a question: “What will you lay your own life for?”
Then world around us is constantly worried with who we can love... dating sites on the internet to find that special somebody; trying to find and using drugs to enhance physical expressions of love (also known as sex). The world worries about whether are we being emotionally supported by our significant other and about whether or not are we getting what we need or do we need to go somewhere else? Are we going g to make changes in our life to bring us happiness? The world’s idea of happiness, far short of the joy that God offers us is what we can get to fill our lives with that will supposedly make us happy. So long as we can get, things are good.
Just in case you haven’t noticed or figured it out, that is not the way that Jesus lived among us. His command to love each other is borne out of how he lives and loves us. He has been teaching us and calling us to live and to love like he does. And he loves us so that we can discover the joy that comes from living such a life. There is a deliberate choice to love God and to love others. So perhaps then the lesson that we need to learn now is that there isn’t a person on the face of the planet that isn’t worth giving, sacrificing and dying for. Didn’t Jesus tell all of his disciples, “By this (sign) all will know you to be my disciples, by your love, one for another”?
Here is a simple truth: the real power of love is not in what it can get and possess. The real power of love is in love’s ability it give and to give freely to another. It is what God teaches us in the death and resurrection of Jesus. If we are God’s, chosen and appointed by God to be his Church in the midst of the life of the world then through our relationship with God we are witnessing the building of the Church and the transformation of human society. We are not a part of the Church or living as spiritual people solely for personal gain or selfish ends. We are the fruit of Christ’s life being offer to the world that they might come and eat and live.
If we claim life with Christ then there is, out of necessity, the need to love both God and neighbour. This means that there will be the need to learn to not only giving but to surrender because we are God’s and his alone. We are called to love and to live, in his name. We are God’s and we need to love all time.