(I'm re-posting this, to keep this ball in play. Because love is the greatest, right? So, I need to keep it before me.)
|(Lake Erie, in colder days)|
I will meditate today on "love."
- God is love. Love forms the very being of God. "Love" is an essential attribute of God. This means that God cannot not-love. Christian Trinitarian Theism best expresses this. God is a three-personed being. God is, essentially, a being-in-relationship. God as Father-Son-Spirit makes conceptual sense of the idea that God is love. Because "love" is relational. Love requires an other, an object to-be-loved.
- God cannot not-love you. This does not form some restriction on God. God does not love you because there is some command external to his being he must follow. God is love, therefore all God's thoughts and actions are loving. God's love for you is genuine. When God thinks of you he has a good feeling. God likes you. You are God's child, his son or daughter. God made you, and what he has made God calls "very good." You are deeply loved by God. Nothing can change this.
- God expressed his love by coming to us, rather than making us find him. God came, in the Son, to "sozo" us; i.e., to "save" us. Love came down to rescue us. "For God so loved the world..." Michael Brown et. al. write that the New Testament usage of sozo means "to rescue, save, deliver, preserve from danger, etc." (212) "James 5:15 in particular provides an excellent example of the holistic usage of sozo." (213) The sick person will be "raised up," forgiven, and "made well" (sozo). Sozo includes being healed, made whole, and delivered, and is applied not simply to individuals but to people groups and cultures. "Love" is verb. Love is intentional action.
- From God's POV love is "the greatest." The highest, in terms of value. Love is greater than power. In the being of God, love is the raison d'etre of power. Power exists for the sake of love. Jesus, in his humanity, accessed the power of the Father. Jesus' displays of power came out of his compassion, which is to say, out of his love. Paul expands on this theologically in 1 Corinthians 13. Without love, you are nothing.
- Love is not impatient. Love waits. Love waits for others. Love doesn't get ahead of others. Patience is consideration. Love considers.
- Love is not unkind. Love never speaks un-loving words, for that would be the antithesis of love. Love speaks kindly. Love is soft and true.
- Love does not envy or boast. Love is free from human hierarchies of comparison. Love does not measure itself against others. In this way love is free.
- Love does not dishonor others. Love looks to honor others before one's own self. Love does not go after self-honor. Love loves to see others get honor. Love is free from the need to be in the spotlight. Love does not upstage others. Love moves behind the scenes.
- Love is not self-seeking. Love looks toward God and the well-being of others. Love puts God first, and others second. Love is satisfied with third place, or not placing at all.
- Love is not easily angered. Love doesn't get irritated or ticked off. Love isn't irascible, petulant, or inconvenienced. Love is easily interruptible.
- Love lets go of past offenses. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Because of this, love sleeps peacefully at night. There's no bitterness or resentment in love. To forgive others is one of love's greatest accomplishments.
- Love does not delight in evil. There's nothing evil does that makes love happy. Love never enables evil. Nor does love partner with evil.
- Love does not rejoice with falsehood. Love rejoices with the truth. Love doesn't throw a party when "1+1=3." Love loves light, not darkness. Love has no shades of gray.
- Love always protects. Love is responsible for the other. Love shelters. Love takes a bullet meant for the beloved. Love is a shield.
- Love always trusts. This is because love trusts in God. Love is not naive or gullible because of this. Love doesn't trust an ax-murderer with an ax, but trusts that God is greater than he who is in the world.
- Love always hopes. Love expects, therefore love prepares.
- Love always perseveres. Love never gives up.
- Love never fails. Love scores 100%, every time. Love wins.
- Love is the thing that will last. Love ever-lasts. Love remains when others depart.
- Faith and hope are great things, but love is greater. Faith and hope are manifestations of love. Love is the genus, faith and hope are species.
- We are to love one another. The mark of a Jesus-follower is: "See how they love one another." When love is instantiated the revolution has begun.
- We are even to love those who are against us. We are to love our enemies. Love doesn't get more radical than this. This is the "Mt. Everest" of love; love's summum bonum. When love displays itself this way the earth trembles, the heavens open, jaws drop, eyes open, and skeptics reconsider.
- If you love Jesus, then you will keep his commands. And one of his commands is: Love your enemies. Here logic kicks in. Modus ponens. 1. If A, then B. 2. A. 3. Therefore, B. Such as: 1. If it rains, then the ground gets wet. 2. It is raining. 3. Therefore, the ground gets wet. Such as: 1. If you love Jesus, then you will keep his commands. 2. You love Jesus. 3. Therefore, you keep his commands. Including the commands to love God, love one another, and love one's enemies. Just as surely as the rain causes the ground to get wet.