What is love?
This is the question of humanity, isn't it? Love: you can't quantify it, analyze it in a test tube or observe it with your 5 senses, and yet we know the necessity of love. Without love, most would agree, life would have no meaning.
Without love there would be a serious lack of country songs (or any songs) in the world.
What is love? Love is not lust. Love is not liking. Love is not only an emotional attachment.
For example, I can say that "I love my wife" but I also "love cheeseburgers"? That doesn't add up. We have a serious misunderstanding of love today. The Church desperately needs to realign itself with how Jesus loves.
Jesus shows us what love is, because God is love, and Jesus give all Christians a new "command": to love one another as I have first loved you. We are to use his model of love and grace to us as the template to how we are to love others.
This begs the question: why are we, the Church, so occasionally bad at this one commandment? How can we be so deficient at the one main thing Jesus commanded us to do?
Maybe we have other gods who demand our attention and love. Maybe we've never experienced the life-altering love and grace of Jesus for ourselves. How can you reciprocate something if you've never experienced it? Maybe we've invented an ideal of how we think Jesus loves based on our own prejudices, worldview or lens of reality. Some may speak for Jesus, but they do not know his love personally.
Love is sacrifice. Love is choice, outside of circumstance.
Love keeps a spouse at the bedside of their mate, even when all hope seems lost. Love drives a parent to give their life away so their child may have a bright future. Love endures all things, it hopes all things. Why? Because God is love, and God never fails, never gives up and always wins. Love lays its life down so that others might live.
Love is choice of will. Love is done by faith, and all true faith is done in love.
Jesus gives us a new command: to love one another, as he has first loved us.
He unveils this new command with finality by ushering in a new covenant with all men and women, a covenant signed and sealed with his body and blood. As always, he illustrates this new command with his perfect and cogent action.
What is love? I'll answer that question with another question: how has Jesus first loved you? Answer that, and you will find your answer to the question of true love.
You are invited to come to church this Sunday and experience his love for yourself as we worship together and celebrate holy communion as one body!
As always, it is a joy to be with you!
Rev. Clark Chilton