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. 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. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
“You can have the sound of a thousand voices calling your name…” sang Shinedown; the song continued, “The one thing you leave behind is how did you love?”
Paul tells us “I could speak in the tongues of mortals or of angels, but if I have not love, I am just a noisy gong” (1 Corinthians 13:1) Love is mentioned 13 times in today’s passage encouraging us to love one another as God has loved us and because God has loved us from before we came to love him. So how do we love? Do we offer comfort to the bereaved? Hope to those in despair? Welcome to the stranger? Food to the hungry? Voice to the silent? Do we seek to be rewarded for the love we offer or do we love because we cannot help ourselves. Victor Hugo once said “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving”. God’s love is all encompassing and was present even before we realised it. He gave without counting the cost when he sent his son for us. How can we respond but with love for all without the need for the spotlight, or secret agenda of payback when needed. Love should be unconditional, absolute and available to all. God has shown us how, and, as Isaac Watts reminds us “love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all”
God of Love, thank you that you first loved me, so that I may know I am loved completely.
Lord of Love, help me to love without looking for reward. Help me to love my neighbour – friend or stranger – that your love is reflected through me.
Spirit of Love, inspire my actions that they may all be guided by love so that you live in me and my life is of you. Amen
The Rev’d Ruth Watson, Minister of Patricroft and Worsley Road URCs.