God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
(1 John 4:16b)
A week or so ago I was on my way home and I called at a local shop for some bread and milk. It was the evening before Valentine’s day and most of the other shoppers were not interested in milk or bread but in cards, flowers and gifts. They may have been on the last minute but they wanted to buy something to show their love for someone else.
If we are not careful, love can become all about what we do, the gifts we buy, the dates we go on, the acts of service through which we show our love. Yet the heart of love, pardon the pun, is not something we do but something that is. Love is between two people when they are together in the same space but doing different things, love is between a parent and a child, love is even when words are not used and actions are not undertaken.
For Christians, love is because God is and God is love. In God we find a love which is greater than we could ever imagine; a love which is all encompassing, a love which offers renewal and new life to us all, when we are at our best and when life is at its most difficult. In the Bible in the 1st letter of John, we are told ‘God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them’.
These words are both a statement but also an invitation. An invitation to see the love that God is and God offers to us, and to choose to abide, to rest, to rely on, to live, in that love. When we choose to accept this invitation we discover more of what love is and what it means to be loved by God; loved in a way that is beyond the love that any human can offer to us. As we discover more of God’s love we also discover more of God for God is love.
As you reflect on love this month, may you discover something that is rather than something you need to do or be. As you discover love, our prayer at Leeds Sanctuary is that you get a glimpse of God, who we believe is love.