Love! We all know it in some form or another. It is a shared experience and emotion that we all understand. Love brings joy and warmth, euphoria and comfort. Love also can bring pain and sorrow, jealousy and agony. It comes in many forms and is expressed in many ways. Yet no matter how love is experienced it is always deeply personal.
Think about all the different ways love is experienced. Love of that special someone, whether they are a spouse or that first crush. The love that helps us identify home. The love where we express our most intimate expressions. Love can drive us to be better versions of ourselves, lifting us to heights unimaginable.
Love for a child. Love that drives us to protect and nurture. It is that overwhelming emotion to help them succeed. It allows us to see the person they could be, and sometimes causes us to see the person we wish they would become. It can lead to us dropping everything just to care for our children. Love that is so strong that we are willing to suffer, to go without, to die; all so our children have the best chance for a future full of opportunities.
There is love of family. Love of friends. Both which are like the types of love we’ve already explored. There is even love of activities, sport teams and other one-sided loves, where we express our love without receiving anything in return. Still can we understand the depth of love Christ is talking about in John 15:9-17?
“9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. … 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
Every year during this time of Lenten reflection I am reminded that God loved us so much that he sent his only son to die on the cross so that we may have eternal life with him in heaven. Christ loved us so greatly that he died for you and for me. How do we love like this? Christ commands us to love each other as he loved us, yet as I look at the world, I fail to see even the church practicing such a love as this. This week, I challenge you to try to love as Christ loved you. Putting the other first; whether that is your spouse, your child, the people you work with or the stranger. What would life look like if we could love like that?
John Sundquist, Executive Director, Lutheran Men in Mission
Father in Heaven; you love us in such as grand and generous way that you gave even your son that we may have life eternal with you. Help us to learn to love like that. To love our fellow creations generously and freely. Loving them and serving them that they may see your love through us. May this be our prayer today and every day. In your Name we pray! Amen.