What does it mean to love? It's being sacrificial, giving of oneself, sharing both the good and the bad. I've always been a fan of love stories, especially the ones where you know the two characters will end up together. However, the stories where it's a prolonged love, where the two keep having to fight fate, a long-time searching to be together, best represents our life in faith. You know the stories I mean, the Notebook being an example among many. The two meet, have a period getting to know one another, fall in love, and then are separated for years. When they finally become reunited, the love is just as long and lasting, and remains the rest of their lives. God loves us so much, that no matter the process it takes for us to become reunited, He will never stop loving us. We are always called into this love story with God, one much greater than our minds can comprehend.
Today's First Reading states:'For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But if any one has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God'(1 John 3:11-21).
In today's reading we hear how we know love by the sacrifice Jesus makes for us on the cross, by laying down one's life for the world. We all enjoy love stories because they hit close to home, they make us warm inside, show us a glimpse of what we really seek. If we put our trust in God, and continue seeking God, and letting His love light our lives, we will be successful in everything that matters. We will know what true love means. Take some time to reflect on areas you can be more loving to those around you, and ask God to continue lighting your life with love.
Today's prayer comes from 'Crosswalk' a prayer for God's Unending Love:
Dear God, We thank you that you indeed are powerful and loving, that out of your glorious riches you strengthen us through your Spirit in our inner being. We ask you for the fresh filling of your Holy Spirit, we ask for your power and love to fill us. We thank you that as believers we know that Christ dwells richly within our hearts through faith. We pray that you would strengthen our roots and establish our lives firmly in your love.When the world shouts hate, help us to love. When the past won’t let go, help us to love. When the enemy taunts with lies and surrounds with darkness, help us to love. When a relationship feels broken or we’re betrayed or rejected, help us to love.Help us to love, and to keep on loving. By the power of your Spirit. Even when it seems impossible. Even when it doesn’t make sense.May our lives be filled with your goodness and power, today and every day, as we walk in your Spirit of love. In Jesus’ Name,Amen.