The Bible has a great deal to say about love. By some counts, the word love appears 365 times- enough to read a different one each day of the year. Here are a few examples:
Let all that you do be done in love. – I Corinthians 16:14
“God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
The man answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” -Matthew 5:44
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. – I John 4:8
Love, clearly, matters to God. The letter we know as I John (which, to confuse things, is not the same as the gospel called John) goes so far as to say that God is love.Today is Valentine’s Day, so love is on the minds of many. From the kids making cards for their classmates to sweethearts sending each other flowers, from friends spending time together to family members making an extra call to say “I love you,” many people take today to share love.
There are many, many ways to show love and many, many kinds of love. Did you catch the Super Bowl ad from New York Life about love? If you didn’t, it’s worth taking a minute to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpwXQ3FdBEo
There is love between friends, the love of romance, the love of family, love that gives without thought of what it will get in return. Love shows up in all sorts of places, reflected in so many different faces.
Now, the simple fact is that some people share love more easily than others. Some people accept love more easily than others. Relationship experts talk about love languages: the different ways we show and receive love. Some give gifts; others give hugs; still others give compliments. All give love.
As Christians, we are called to love everyone, not just the ones we love easily. More difficult still, we are commanded to “Let all that you do be done in love.” That means do the dishes with love. It means navigate traffic with love. It means vote with love. It means talk to your coworkers with love. It means treat your cashier with love. It means comment on Facebook with love. It means talk about people you don’t like with love. It means from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, let everything that you do be done in love.
Now that’s a tall order. Every moment of every day; every thought, word, and deed; let all be done in love. How? We love because God first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
Love for our neighbors at any moment, let alone every moment, is possible only because of God’s love. The love we share is God’s love, overflowing through us. Hear this: when you feel like you don’t have enough love to share, what you need is to be reminded that you are loved. Someone you know who doesn’t seem to have any love to give needs more than anyone to receive God’s love from you. You love because you were loved first. God loves you” today, tomorrow, and every single moment of every single day.
God of love, fill me with your love so that I can share your love with others. Your love changes everything. Amen.