When I was asked to write this blog about love, I didn’t initially know which way to go – the love of someone we know or the love of a stranger. I decided in the end to focus on the love of a stranger, as I personally think it teaches us a lot about the love of someone we know …
When reading the New Testament, I am struck time and time again how Jesus went out of his way to interact with people from a variety of different backgrounds, cultures, experiences and beliefs, to demonstrate God’s inclusive love to them through stories and interactions. Whether this be; in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10), where [one interpretation of the story could be that] Jesus urges us to stop and take notice instead of passing by, to meet people’s needs and show compassion, regardless of who they are. Or when Jesus speaks to the Samaritan women at the well (John 4) he did the unexpected, breaking the cultural norms, meeting her where she was at, to have a respectful and honest conversation, oozing with grace. Or Zacchaeus (Luke 19) where Jesus interrupts his journey to meet and receive hospitality from a man who was excluded from society. Jesus shows an all-encompassing inclusive love for one’s whole being – mind, body and spirit, challenging preconceived ideas and cultural norms.
However, what does this teach us about the love of those we know, those we might find easier to love or that we may ‘fall in love’ with. I believe Jesus is intentional in love, he chooses to love, to show compassion and to care, he is respectful, yet honest. He is not complacent, but makes a choice, and in making an intentional choice demonstrates that it is not always easy to be and show love in the words of 1 Corinthians 13 ‘Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’ Because in the verses that come before this well-known reading ‘If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’
LCC HQ x