Friday, Dec. 21 – April Hoelke

21 Dec

Friday, Dec. 21 – LOVE

Today’s Scripture:
Psalm 105:1-15
1 John 4:7-12

In the theology class I am taking this semester, we recently had a discussion about the love of God. When we think about the love of God, we often think about agape love. Agape is the kind of love that pours itself out despite the value of the person loved. As humans we know that this is the kind of love God showed us when Jesus died on the cross for us. We did not deserve such grace, forgiveness, and love, but God gave us love when by all standards we should have received death. God gave us love before we even realized we needed it. This is the idea behind the words in 1 John 4:10 that say, “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.”

In that same class period, we talked about another type of love, however. This love, eros, is something we tend to think about as sensual love, but at its core, eros is really love that seeks out someone because it sees something of value in that person. My professor reminded us that, while this word is not used as much in the biblical text (and it doesn’t appear in our passage), the concept is certainly there. Eros is, I think, somehow wrapped up in the way God cares for us. God is the one whose love is perfect. God loves us even in our shortcomings, even in our sin, and even in our brokenness, and this love is agape. But God is able to see value in us, if for no other reason than because it was God who made us, breathed life into us, and formed us in God’s very own image. In loving us, God was even willing to become vulnerable for our sake. This love is eros. 1 John 4 reminds us of the love God poured out on us, the love that sees something valuable in us but also loves us when we are completely undeserving. I think this balance is what we ought to keep in mind when we love others.

In the few years I’ve been actively involved in our church, I have been blessed to form close relationships with many of you. We don’t have a perfect church, and since we are all human we all fail one another and God at times. But the more I get to know the people in our body, the more I see how valuable, unique, and intricate God has made each of us. I appreciate you and want to share life with you. Like I said before, though, we are all imperfect. There will be times when I fail you, there will be times when you fail one another or me, and there will be times when we fail to be truly the body of Christ as God has called us to be. In those times, our grace for one another should abound, and we should live in the agape love that God’s Spirit has not only shown us but also given us so that we might love one another. Agape loves first and last. It does not wait to be earned but is poured out freely. When we fail one another, let this be the love that characterizes our body.

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