Love, Love, Love
What Is Love?
- A matter of feelings and expressions
- A decision
- An experience of oneness, of unity where separation is unthinkable
- Identifying everyone’s best interest as one
- Is not quantifiable
- Unified self-interest
- Who you are?
- The God in you
Actions Speak Louder Than Words!
The Acts of the Apostles is our earliest history as a believer of Christ. It is a record of the encounter between the character of men and women on fire with God, and the circumstances of an unbelieving world. It is a story of action. In fact, that is the only reason we have any story to tell. The Apostles acted on the life of Jesus Christ. They witnessed and taught His Gospel and they travelled all over the world to spread the Good News. A writer once said that history or at least all human history is a record of the encounter between character and circumstance. Life is the crucible where we discover what we really believe as opposed to what we say we believe. And the result is our story, our history. Action is hard. But it is action, not intention, which writes the human story. Christian love is an active verb. The believer is attentive to God, receptive to God, but never passive. Real love is not something we consume like an entertainment It is something we co-create with God. It involves the will. It involves choosing to do a right action a selfless action and then actually doing it. That is what changes human hearts. In the long run, people remember what we do, a lot more clearly than anything we say. The Apostles preached first with their lives, then with their words. People listened because they saw. In the same way, if we live well and love well because of the Gospel only then will people begin to listen to what we say about the Gospel.
The Acts of the Apostles also show us a couple of other important things about love. It is outwardly focused. We love for the sake of others. It is also radical we do not consume it; love consumes us. Jesus was the most radical lover of all. He emptied Himself of His own life completely. And He tells us that we cannot be fruitful unless we do the same. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Love is also personal, because it is lived not primarily in ideas or programs or structures, but in the flesh-and-blood relationships of daily life, between God and us. Real love always has a face. It is never a theory. The Pharisee Christians missed the whole point of the Gospel. Their faith was from the intellect not from the heart or the soul and so it became a kind of weapon, a tool to divide. Jesus, on the other hand, could teach so powerfully because He loved so deeply and so well. People met the person of Jesus Christ, and their lives changed. It is a great sign of God’s presence in the Acts of the Apostles where they would put away their own experience and take Christ at His word. Making possible an explosion of the Gospel throughout the world. Christ calls us to the task of loving and He promises that our love will not only bear fruit, but fruit which abides. lives motivated by love have meaning. God loved us and believed in us enough to send us His only son. Jesus loved us and believed in us enough to elevate us from servants to friends and then to lay down His life for His friends. Is there any greater sign of our worth, our immense value as children of God than that kind of radical love?
“I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide”
Remember, you are chosen. You are appointed. Your witness is the seed of the future. The creed we recite today is the “abiding fruit” of the believers who came before us. A century from now, others will look back on you and me and the “abiding fruit” of our lives, and our love for Jesus Christ. Be true to them. Be true to those in the faith who came before us. And to those who will come after us.
In that spirit, may God grant each of us the unselfish love to hear His voice and the courage to act on it by following His call.
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.