This is a publication from the desk of Pastor Gene Yotka depicting his and other people’s observations of God’s Presence in and around our Epworth UMC community and beyond.
Hi Everyone, I pray blessings upon you, that you are experiencing the presence of God in every moment of your days. Now is a good time to be still and let God speak in your heart.
Continuing with our recent topic of spiritual dispositions begun three weeks ago with humility followed by hospitality, and then compassion, I would like to consider this week that from which all Christ-like dispositions flow, which is love. Love is the source of all goodness, wholeness and healing because God is love.
Love seen, become manifest, is born of God as a result of intimacy with God.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. NRS 1 John 4:7
Love is the mutual way of being intimately connected to God.
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. NRS 1 John 4:16
There is also a dire consequence of wanton failure to love.
We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. NRS 1 John 3:14
Love is life and failure to love is death, because God is love, while apathy and hate is death.
When we love God we come up against a paradox with regard to this life. We discover that
life born of Love is life given away in service of others. This is what Jesus meant when he said...
Then he said to them all, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. NRS Luke 9:23
And Paul affirmed when he wrote...
And it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. NRS Galatians 2:20
Love is an affirmation and an edification of life. Love encourages and builds up. Love is decidedly pro-creation. When we affirm and build up others we participate in God’s creation that in turn enhances the life of others and our own life as well. In so doing we are saying “yes” to God who is love. If we mock, teardown, or use others in a utilitarian manner to benefit ourselves, we participate in anti- creation that places a stumbling block for others to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, while displaying our active “no” to God who is love.
“Love is the eternal “yes” to life’s possibilities and promise. It is the form of protest that says “no” to all the forces in our world that diminish and degrade life.”
Norman Wirzba, Call to Love, pg. 7
I believe that Love is the premiere message of the church. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of love. If this makes sense, it then follows that the church must be preeminently a place where love is expressed and taught. For it is the way that we reflect our God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who is life giving, creating, saving, building and sustaining Love in our midst.