What Is Love?

This is my offering for today’s devotions for our circuit website.

The text is printed here for those who prefer that.

In 1983, the absolute heyday of music, Howard Jones recorded a song , whose lyrics begin

“I love you whether or not you love me
I love you even if you think that I don’t”

I think of those words when I hear today’s reading from John.  Again I am working my way through the readings suggested in The Prayer Handbook, where Jesus continues to tell his disciples all he wants them to know before he has to leave them, his way to live for when they are without his physical presence among them.

John 15:9-17 (CEV)

I have loved you, just as my Father has loved me. So remain faithful to my love for you. 10 If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him.

11 I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am. 12 Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you. 13 The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. 14 And you are my friends, if you obey me.15 Servants don’t know what their master is doing, and so I don’t speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.

16 You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. 17 So I command you to love each other.

The chorus of Howard Jones song goes on to ask

“What is Love anyway, does anybody love anybody anyway”

A question you could ask in response to Jesus’ entreaty.  What is love?  What is Jesus asking of us?

You ask us to love,
to love each other
as you have loved us.

What does it look like
that kind of love.

Is it words
said to get what I want?
Feelings easily given
and easily taken back?
A passing fad,
loved today
forgotten tomorrow?
An emotion
wasted
on nice food,
a new tv programme,
the latest fashion?

None of those are love.

Love is sacrificial.
putting your needs before mine;
giving
without waiting for something in return:
wanting hope for you;
sharing your burdens
and your joys;
supporting you in what you do;
loving
without needing love back;
letting you be
the person you are
wonderfully created to be.

This is love,
love that will bear fruit,
that will make us strong.

Love that if each of us share,
we will receive
what we need too.
A circle of love,
hope,
peace
and life
in all it’s fulness
for all.

Thank you for love Lord.
Your love for me,
given so freely
by you
and by others.

Teach me to love
as you love,
to love without counting the cost,
without waiting
for someone else to make the first move,
without waiting
to see what I get in return.

Give me your love,
tender,
true,
that keeps on loving.

The love of being your friend,
chosen and loved.

I could suggest you listen to Howard Jones’ What is Love for my song suggestion, but I also offer you Love Like Jesus from Rhett Walker Band

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