Tag Archives: O love that will not let me go

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

Faith

George Michael told us all we “gotta have faith…”  Depeche Mode told us to “reach out and touch faith” (you can take a girl out of the 80s, but you can’t take the 80s out of the girl!)  If only it were that simple.

Faith is confidence or trust.  It is not believing the ridiculous, it is stepping out with God.  Faith is what helps us to live God’s ways, to respond to his call.

Hebrews 11:29-12:2

29 Because of their faith, the people walked through the Red Sea on dry land. But when the Egyptians tried to do it, they were drowned.

30 God’s people had faith, and when they had walked around the city of Jericho for seven days, its walls fell down.

31 Rahab had been a prostitute, but she had faith and welcomed the spies. So she wasn’t killed with the people who disobeyed.

32 What else can I say? There isn’t enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms, and because they did right, God made promises to them. They closed the jaws of lions 34 and put out raging fires and escaped from the swords of their enemies. Although they were weak, they were given the strength and power to chase foreign armies away.

35 Some women received their loved ones back from death. Many of these people were tortured, but they refused to be released. They were sure that they would get a better reward when the dead are raised to life. 36 Others were made fun of and beaten with whips, and some were chained in jail. 37 Still others were stoned to death or sawed in two or killed with swords. Some had nothing but sheep skins or goat skins to wear. They were poor, mistreated, and tortured. 38 The world did not deserve these good people, who had to wander in deserts and on mountains and had to live in caves and holes in the ground.

39 All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. 40 This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us.

A Large Crowd of Witnesses

12 Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God’s throne!

This passage also reminds us that having faith does not always make for an easy life, or that things will go, what may be termed “well”.  It doesn’t say, “Have faith and breeze through life”, it reminds us that even the most faithful had their trials.

That is a comfort.  It’s not just me, something I’ve done, or not done;  I’m not being singled out for a hard time; I’m not being “got at”.  That is how life, until God returns in all his glory, is.  Faith may help us live with life, it doesn’t get rid of the difficult parts.  And if we feel we are suffering, despite our faith, we are in good company.

Lord,
I don’t understand
why,
however faithful people seem,
despite the good things they do,
life still throws up it’s difficulties.

But I thank you,
that it is not because of anything
we have,
or haven’t,
done wrong,
but human life
in all it’s facets.

Thank you especially
for your promise
that you have something better in store.

I pray
for the time when that will be,
when suffering, hardship and pain
will be gone
and what you have in store for us all
will be here

Can I have the same song again?  I can can’t I, it’s my blog.  This really is the most awesome, beautiful, helpful and truthful song.  It means so much to me and has kept me going on some of the worst days.  God promises are not imagined, they are real and will be realised one day, way beyond our expectations.  To be able to trace the rainbow through the rain… Read it’s story here