If I had to sum up who or what God is in one word, that would be simple. God is love. If I had only one word to explain who Jesus is, what his life means or what his message is all about, that too would be easy. Jesus is love. Defining my faith should be no different. Love.
So why then do so many followers of Jesus or worshipers of this God struggle to love? Especially one another?
As we enter the new year, we do so knowing that today is a gift given to each and every one of us. And the only real thing we are called to do, be it worship or work, is to love. That is the single thread that weaves us all together. Love binds us to God. Love joins us to Jesus. Love is how life is defined.
If you dare to love, you dare to reject and refuse anything that is not grounded in love. If you dare to believe that God loves you (no matter what) and from love God has made you and claimed you as one of God's own, then you can dare to believe that you are born as one of God's beloved. Just like Jesus. Just like me. Because you are a beloved child of God, your life is meaningful. It has purpose. And that purpose is to give love meaning.
We are born into this physical space to define love. We have been given only a short to do so. For some it's just a day, or twenty or forty or eighty years. The length of time doesn’t matter. A baby who is born and dies in his mothers arms, expresses love in both the joy of his life and the pain in his death. Today, we will live while others will die. How then will you live? How then will you die?
We are the beloved children of God, made from love for love. Our job is to define that truth by loving one another so to help our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and enemies, our friends and co-workers that they too belong in this belovedness.
When we love, we do not fight, or kill, or harm one another - we aid, heal, and support each other. When we love, we are able to reconcile our differences, to break down the walls that divide us, to better understand the differences between us are things that help us grow closer together, to love better, and to care more deeply.
"Before all distinctions, the separations, and the walls built on foundations of fear, there was a unity in the mind and heart of God.Out of that unity, you are sent into this world for a little while to claim that you and every other human being belongs to the same God of Love who lives from eternity to eternity."
God's love is the great unifier. Jesus' love invites us to unite, to live together in love, in the space of time we are given. We are only here for a little while, so how we define our love will really be the only thing we can leave behind when we are gone. Love wildly, freely, passionately, intensely, and very generously until there is no room left in this world for anything else.
"Remember you are held safe. You are loved. You are protected. You are in communion with God and with those whom God has sent you. What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours."
You were born for this.
Nouwen, Henri. You Are The Beloved. (Convergent: 2017)
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”