Monday, February 14, 2011

True Love

Well it's Valentine's Day and like many of you I am wearing the obligatory red sweater to remind myself and everyone else that this is a special day. It is one of the few days where people are supposed to be nice to one another. It is a day all about love. Men and women spend tons of money making sure that special someone knows they are loved and appreciated. But what about those whose loved ones have passed away? What about those in situations where survival is at the top of the list? What about those whose relationships are in the self destruct mode? Where's the love in these situations? And for all of us happy love birds, what happens tomorrow? Do we go back to a state of indifference, anger, or neglect? Relationship is very important to our God and for the Lord at the heart of all relationships is love. When one of the experts in the Law asked Jesus which is the greatest commandment? Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40) italics mine. John tells us that "God is love." (1 John 4:8) so unlike our culture God takes love very seriously. However God's love is not a mushy sentimentalism that lasts for a day. Rather, God's love is agape, the deep, self-sacrificing, unconditional love that is forever. Agape love is such a serious matter that Christ commands His followers to demonstrate it towards one another. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34) "My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12) "This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:17) For Jesus and His followers, love is not optional. Jesus loves us with the same agape love of the Father. The fruit of us loving as Jesus loves us is that others will see a reflection of Christ in us. As Jesus states, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35) emphasis mine. As human beings we will not always feel warm fuzzies towards others, forget what others have done, or excuse the inapproriate or inhumane actions of others. However, as His followers we are called to a higher standard in the way we treat others and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. On this Valentine's day as I wear my red, I am also choosing to remember that the color red signifies the greatest gift of love I have received, the sacrifice of Christ's shed blood for my sins and the sins of the world. May we all be transformed by the knowledge of the depth of God's love for us and reflect that love everyday to others. I can rejoice in the power of God's love as I listen to the words of Paul, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
In His Love,
Pastor Sheree

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