What is Love?
Updated: May 28
What does the word 'love' mean to you?
‘What is love?’ was the most searched query online in 2012 according to the internet giants, Google.
We use the word love to describe a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that range from inter-personal affection for example; ‘I love my wife;' to pleasure ‘I love this chocolate fudge cake.’ It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction or personal attachment, ‘I love my X-Box’ or ‘I love Exeter City FC.’ It can also be a virtue representing human kindness and unselfish concern for the good of someone else; or perhaps describe compassionate actions towards people, nature, animals or one’s self.
Some might argue that this special four-letter word ‘love’ is used rather loosely in society today. However, there really is something unique in us, an innate relationality that as human beings creates the desire to both give love and to receive love from others.
In his first letter, St John wrote:
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)
In such a powerful description, I think John is trying to tell us that God is not simply a loving God, who loves us as those made in his own image, but that God is love itself. God is love because within His very being, there is a loving relationship that has been eternally present between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, known as the Holy Trinity, an intimacy we see described in the gospels.
There is so much more we could say about the mystery, the wonder and the explorable depth of the Holy Trinity, but by viewing it through the lens that God is Love, we see a reflection of the glorious character of our God and can reflect on how this instructs us to live. It would be right for us to assume that if God is love, He would want us to value our relationships and love above all things. We are reminded of Jesus’ call in the gospels for us to love our God and love our neighbours (all others) as ourselves.
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, a day in the Church Calendar initiated by Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket; who stipulated that one Sunday every year be devoted to the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity; because he was concerned at how little it was understood. This may only skim the surface of our understanding of God as the Trinity. However, as we examine our own personal relationships, our interactions and our communications with others this week, do we imitate the character and values of our God who is love – sacrificial, self-giving and limitless?
In these challenging times, let us hold on to the truth and presence of our God who is love in every part of our lives and the life of the world.
In Christ, Justin
Come along to our Trinity Sunday services - this Sunday at 9 or 11am, either in person or online! To find out more, head to www.tivertonchurch.org/church-services
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