Scripture: 1 John 4:7-21
Key verses: (18-19) “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us.”
Reflection: God is Love. This central claim in 1 John reminds us of the selfless, self-giving love of God. In the Ancient Greek language, there are six different words for love each describing a different aspect of love. In English we only have one word for love, but we know from the context how it is being used. There is a big difference between “I love ice cream” and “I love my children” (at least I hope so!) The Greek word in today’s passage is agape. Agape love is best defined as love for everyone. It is selfless love for another person. The writer of 1 John intentionally uses this word to describe God’s love for us and the love kind of love we are to share. There is nothing sentimental about agape. This kind of love is both a gift and a response. It is because of the experience of God’s love that we are able to love each other. Since we are born of God’s love we are called to abide in God. This means that every day we are called to love in order that God’s love might be manifest in the world. It sounds so easy, but we know from personal experience that we can say “I love God” one moment and then treat others badly. We do this in all kinds of ways, sometimes without realizing it. What might happen if we intentionally set out to abide in God’s love and share it with others? My guess is a gradual transformation would take place in our individual lives and in our life together. There is so much anger and hate in the world. We can choose to be different. After all, we love because he first loved us.
Prayer: Loving God, help us to abide in your love and let it transform our thoughts and our actions so that others might experience Jesus Christ through us. In his name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].