I’m not often in the habit of writing letters. My apostle, Paul, loved to write letters and you have quite a few of those contained in the scriptures. I guess I did write seven letters some time ago – to seven different churches… but I digress…. This isn’t something I do a whole lot of.
I love you and I want you to love me and I want you to love one another.
Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?
As the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, I am perfect and wholly and beautifully complete. Love between and throughout and within. My unity means that I am love.
And all of that love within me poured out into creation.
One of your modern day pastors put it well… although I’m going to put it into my own words:
I love you enough to be the Creator who created the whole universe and every creature, I am the one who created you and gave you the very breath of life.
I love you enough to be the Redeemer who has saved and redeemed the world from sin, sorrow, and separation so that you might be joined to my love forever…
Everything that you know of me… everything that you have experienced of me…. Is love.
Think about it.
The very act of creation was the love within me as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit bubbling over and outward.
Your very life is an expression of my love.
From the very beginning I have been calling your brothers and sisters, and now you, by name… beckoning you into a relationship with me.
From the beginning I created you to be in relationship with other people – loving them, caring for them. And I know this because I created you to be just like me… capable of loving and uniting yourself with others.
And through it all… no matter how many times you turned away and your love faltered and puttered out and got angry… I stayed there.
With the love of a father and a mother, I sometimes used harsh words. I sometimes used thorough punishment.
But just like you know that the mouth in the soap or the spanking from your earthly father or mother was meant out of love… so too, my actions have always been out of love for you.
I want you to hear this very plainly: I love you.
I know that you are messed up and make mistakes and that there are a thousand reasons I shouldn’t.
But guess what.
I. Love. You.
Just as you are. With all of your issues and flaws.
I created you. I breathed into you my life. And no matter how many nicks and scratches you have – You Are Mine. And I love you.
Don’t you remember what John told you?
I’m sure that you can even say it by heart…
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” NKJV
I loved you all so much that my very life was outpoured and given out and broken for you. There is this fancy word for that… kenosis… but it really just means that I emptied myself for you… just like the wine that pours out of the jug – the blood of the new covenant poured out for you.
I didn’t go through all of that just to point a finger and tell you how awful you were… I did it to show my deep, abiding, steadfast, forever love for you.
I did it to put you back on the right paths, to give you a chance to start fresh. I did it because I loved you.
Because even though you are awesome just the way you are… I also love you too much to let you stay that way. (Anne Lamott)
…brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. 13The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Isn’t that nice?
With simple words, he reminded them to live with one another just as I live. Ordered. Listening. Responsive. Peaceful. Open. Loving.
Those words describe how I am… how I can be three and one all at the same time. It describes what it takes to live in unity.
And then he closes his letter by praying that my love and grace and communion – my fellowship – might be with you.
That is the most powerful thing that anyone can write.
Because in doing so, he is reminding you that only in my love are you fully alive. And his is praying that my love might pour out again on you.
You see, that is my mission. That is all I want to do. To pour out my love upon the whole world and to gather it all up in that love.
And I created you to do that also. I created you to pour out my love and grace and fellowship upon other people. To invite them into that love. And to love them the way that I loved you.
Church – can you do that?
Let me rephrase the question… because I know you CAN do it… I gave you the power to do it.
Church – will you do that?