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Saturday, February 12, 2011

This Is Love...

Valentine's Day. Ugghh. I am not the biggest fan of Valentine's Day. And it is not because I don't like doing romantic things with my wife. I love that! I love my wife! No, the reason I don't like Valentine's Day is because of how it trivializes the entire idea of love. It makes love sappy, trite, cutesy, pink. Love cannot be captured on a cardboard, cut-out, Garfield card that has an overweight cat gazing longingly at a lasagna. Love is so much bigger, so much more than that.

In fact, if we really want to know what love is supposed to be we must look to Jesus. One of Jesus' apostles, St. John (also known as the one whom Jesus loved) said it this way, This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10). Far from being a cutesy, pink card, God gives His love to us in the sacrificial, blood-red death of Jesus. Jesus is love because He is God in human flesh and, as John says in the same letter, God is love (1 John 4:8). This means that God is constantly giving of Himself, pouring Himself out for others, for His beloved creatures, for YOU! We know this because on the cross we see God-in-fleshed Jesus pouring out His lifeblood to atone for the sins of the world. That is to say, to wash the sins of the world away Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice in our place. That is love, passionate love. Isn't it interesting that we refer to journey to the cross as Jesus' "passion?"

St. John goes on, Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:11). God didn't love you by sending you a box of chocolates, but He sent His only Son to die for you. Jesus sacrificed His own life to purchase you as His own through His bloody cross. Our lives are covered in the blood of Christ, therefore our lives will begin to reflect such love. As the blood-bought children of God we ought to love one another as Christ loved us.

So, how does that change your Valentine's plans? Instead of a cheap gift this year, why not consider working hard to show your friends and loved ones that you truly do love them. Don’t settle for the warm fuzzies, but work to demonstrate your love by giving of yourself in some way to another. What can you do to serve? What can you sacrifice for the other person? And, don't just ask yourself this question on February 14th, but begin to make it a daily challenge you give yourself every morning.

For guidance, look to 1 Corinthians 13 where St. Paul describes what true love looks like: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). And hear this wonderful news, these verses describe God's love in Jesus for you. Jesus is patient with you and kind to you. He does not boast of His glory but sets it aside to give of Himself for you. He does not lord His glory over you, but is glorified by loving you. He is not rude to you, selfish, or easily angry with you, in fact, He holds no record of your sins because He has washed them away in His blood. He rejoices when you believe His truth and abhors the evil attacks that come towards you. So, He will always protect you so you can always trust Him and have a sure and certain hope in His promises because He always perseveres with you. God's forgiving love and mercy in Christ will never fail you. This is love!

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email