Sunday, Dec. 23 – Matt Orth

23 Dec

Sunday, Dec. 23 – LOVE

Today’s Scripture:
Psalm 33:1-11
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

Congratulations, you’ve made it through all the 2012 Advent Reflectionals. . .for your reward, I will start off this writing with some pop culture history for your enjoyment and as a startling break of form from normal advent devotionals. . .

My formational years were in the 1980s, the decade of decadence, spawning ground of the family sitcom, and home to many a fashion blunder, usually involving something neon. It was also the time period when rap music began to blossom and make its way into the popular mainstream. As a kid I loved rap music but I’m not really sure I can tell you why. . .maybe it was because I thought I had some sweet dance moves for those drum beats or because the sing-song rhyming of old school  rap made it easy to learn and chant along. Perhaps you agree. . .or perhaps you’ve disliked rap all along.

Regardless, the song that really catapulted rap into the public consciousness was “I Need Love” by a very boy-faced rapper wearing an athletic jumpsuit, a Gilligan hat, and a big gold chain named LL Cool J. (Currently of NCIS: Los Angeles fame for you TV watchers.). I can still remember the photo on the front page of US Today with his glam shot pose and the article announcing the arrival of rap.

Love was a theme of many early rap songs, believe it or not, and it was not too long after this song that the publically scorned, and rightfully so, theme of extreme violence became synonymous with the musical form. It’s a very corny romantic song about his ideal woman but that’s not what interests me today. . .it’s the title of the song: I Need Love.

I do need love. And so do you. . .and the Creator knew we needed love too. . .

We needed LOVE, not absolute justice, not powerful signs and wonders, and not false peace manufactured by force. . .

We needed the only kind of real love there is: the self-giving love of God– not a romantic or sensual love, and not a cheap fickle thing changing with conveniences or calculating worth on a scale of quid pro quid but a constant, sacrificial, life-changing love that is unfailing. It never fails.

And thankfully, joyously, the Psalmist writes that the whole earth is full of that kind of love. This is the love He tangibly demonstrated to us as sent the baby Christ to live among us. It is the love we are enrolled in as we experience the Good News of the Gospel which Christ made possible. According to Paul in Thessalonians, He called us into this loving family relationship that we might share in His glory. . .the glory we see in Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth (John 1:14, John 17:20-26)

But I don’t want to stop there with rap songs. . .just a few years later, a rather hefty rapper named Heavy D. came out with another corny love-rap entitled “Now That We Found Love” whose chorus said the following: “Now that we found love. . .what are we going to do. . .with it?”

Family of God, we need love and we have received it in Christ. . .now that we found it, what will we do with it? Because we aren’t the only ones that need it. . .

-MWO

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