“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (I John 4:7 – 8)
A couple of centuries down the road these two verses were put to music. And I am hard pressed to read them without having the praise chorus running through my head. I am going to hum to myself for a while, and then I will come back. Hmmmmmm . . . .
“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” (Verses 9 – 11)
And there I go humming again!
If we focus, truly focus on what it might have been existing as a Divine being, we can start to understand the magnitude of love it must have taken to step away from that existence. We may be loathed to get up and do some work and tasks around the household. Can you imagine – comprehend what it was like to start from scratch as a child – nay, an infant! And move through life one hard day at a time – preaching, teaching, and healing for people who did not seem to care about what you were trying to do for them. Praise to the Lord that Jesus found a group of people, a solid core, who “got” what he was trying to do and traveled with him. But even the love that the disciples had for Jesus was pale in comparison to the love that Jesus, and the Divine, had for them.
“No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.” (Verses 12 – 14)
Of late I have been reading many books in the series “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I am not sure why I started; I just checked out one book in the series, and now I am wading through them as if it was air I needed to breath. Thinking about what the apostle John (or at least the writer of this epistle) is saying, I think one of the reasons I started reading them is because I wanted to read stories of love, care and compassion to keep my spirits up. And it is, for the most part, working.
“God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.” (Verses 15 – 17)
Many years ago – decades ago, actually – I determined that the music I listened to influenced me, and I wanted it to be a good influence. So I decided to find and listen to a Christian radio station. I found one, and it helped me so much during the years before and during seminary. When we moved to the west coast, that was one of the things I was reluctant to leave behind. But praise be to the Divine, on the same number on the radio was another Christian radio station! I felt that the Divine was truly taking care of me!
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.” (Verses 18 – 21)
Have you been paying heed to the scripture passages, beloved reader? I have been carrying on a monologue while these scripture verses have been outlining lessons in love. Maybe a recap is in order.
The love that the Lord God has for us can be found in us; the Divine has placed it there by virtue of our faith. Knowing God means knowing the love that can be found in God, and motivated God to send Jesus. The love of God identifies as children of God; both the love we have and show, and the love that God has shown to us. And this love saves us – both from fear, and fear of what the end of time will hold for others. We have not reason to fear because we have the love of God within us and around us. And this love will save us from acting in unloving ways towards others. Finally, if the proceeding is not true in our lives, maybe we should examine and ensure that it is the love that is from and of God that is within us! Shalom & Selah!