1John 4:7-8, 19
“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. We love because he first loved us.”
Yesterday’s Gospel had Jesus answering the question about the greatest commandment, and his answer was to love God with all we’ve got and our neighbor as ourselves. Love God, love neighbor. Sounds almost too simple, yet that’s what it says we are to do. Actually doing it is where things get harder. God’s love of us is without limits. As Apostle Paul asks, “What can separate us from the love of God?” He goes on to list a bunch of things that can’t to illustrate the fact that there isn’t anything that separates us from God’s love: not even ourselves.
John Wesley put it this way, “The Spirit moves day after day to awaken us from the delusion of our native godlessness, to lead us to the foot of the cross – and in all things bids us to join Jesus there. When, by the Spirit, we yield to be grafted into Jesus’ body, the Spirit silently draws near to tell us that we are children of God. This yes stirs God’s child to respond in love and a myriad of loving works.”
Perhaps we have trouble loving our neighbors because we get stuck on loving ourselves. We know we sometimes can be or do something that we recognize as somewhat unlovable. However that does not change God’s love of us. Do we believe that to be true? If we have trouble actually believing that as fact, it makes it so much harder to live out the commandments. However, with the help of the Spirit we can begin to accept God’s love personally and put that acceptance into seeing others as loved as we come to feel for ourselves. It becomes harder to find fault with others when we see them as loved by God as we are. Can we disagree on things? Yes we can, but that should not change love for those with whom we disagree As we are encouraged by knowing the extravagance of God’s love for all of us, we can find common ground that overcomes artificial divisions. We can find ways to work together for the benefit of our brothers and sisters who are part of God’s family, too. Let’s work on that premise as we love God – love neighbor.
Let There Be Light v.2
Open our lips, open our minds to ponder,
open the door of concord opening in to grace.
Loving God teach us how to love as we are loved. Send your Spirit into every heart to heal divisions and bring us together. May the things we think, say, and do bring greater awareness of why it matters. Amen.
Pastor David Brosnan