Friday, May 04, 2012

A Word About Love!! -- 1 John 4:7-21

7 Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. 8 The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him.10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. 
11 Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. 13 This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. 15 If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. 16We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. 
God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. 17 This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence on the Judgment Day, because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love because God first loved us. 20 If anyone says, I love God, and hates a brother or sister, he is a liar, because the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister who can be seen can’t love God, who can’t be seen. 21 This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.  (1 John 4:7-21 CEB)

Due to a rather busy schedule this week, I've not had time to write my weekly lectionary meditation.  But there words from scripture this week that require our attention.   One of these words is Love, and it is the focus of the one of the lectionary readings for Sunday.  

1 John 4:7-21 offers a strong word about the centrality of love to the Christian faith. We may not always live lives of love, but John is clear, love is a non-negotiable when it comes God.  God is love, and love comes from God, and so if we're to abide in God, and God in us, then we will need to love.  And it's not enough to simply say, I love God.  Something is required of us, and the way we show love of God is found in the way we love our neighbor.    Why? Well, John asks a good question: How can you say you love God, whom you can't see, if you don't love your neighbor whom you can see. John says this is quite bold terms, but isn't this the biblical story?  

The questions John asks are important ones, because we often find ways to separate life on earth from life in heaven.  Life on earth is "dog eat dog," while in heaven everything is peaceful.  As we pray in the Lord's Prayer, however, it's clear that the Kingdom of God is present on earth as in heaven.  There is, it seems, a connection between our lives in the hear and now and life in its other dimensions.  

The question is -- how do we love as God would have us love?  What does it demand of us?  What happens when we fall short?  How do you hear this passage and its call to love?

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