Thursday, October 2, 2014

All you need is Love

Our church has been preaching through the gospel of John this fall, and they've titled the sermon series "Love Talks." So week after week, someone's been up there talking about how at the center of it all is a King whose name is Love. Add to that the fact that one of our preachers has an amazing British accent and you'll understand why all fall I've been hearing Ewan McGregor in my head saying, "love is a very splendid thing, all you need is love!" (And yes, I'm planning to go back and watch Moulin Rouge again now.) Anyway, it's been really good post-seminary therapy for me because it's been recalling to my heart and mind the reality that actually, this whole Christianity thing is really simple. 

In the beginning, there was Love. And Love gave of Himself as a gift and created the world. And when we turned away from Love and our hearts grew hard, Love gave of Himself as a gift to heal and redeem us. And the great reward of responding to Love is that we are healed to love in return; to call Him not only God, but Father; not only Lord, but Bridegroom

It's not that my seminary undermined this, or that theological education is inherently dissonant with living into the simplicity of the gospel. In fact, I'm incredibly grateful for what I received and how I was shaped in school. It's just that, for me, I easily get caught up in the ideas, the abstract, the big words, and the important feeling conversations. I can easily become distracted by issues of church politics, who's right and who's wrong, which books I've read or haven't, and whether I'm pronouncing that Greek word correctly or not. And when that happens, Jesus always finds a way to gently but firmly remind me, "It's actually not about all that. It's about how much I love you and whether you are reciprocating and sharing that love with others." 

Today as I was reading the New Testament, I came across a passage that reminded me of this afresh. It felt so personal that I re-wrote it in my own words and held it up like a mirror to my life. Today, it's a prayer: 

“If I go to seminary and learn to read the Bible in Greek and Hebrew but don’t have love, I am just a know-it-all. And if I work for a church and preach eloquent sermons and always know the right thing to say to people, but don’t have love, I’m just making noise. Even if I give my entire life to Christian ministry, but don’t do it out of love, I gain nothing.”  

Love is a very splendid thing, folks. All you need is Love! 
  

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