'Do everything in love'

Thursday Reflection

27th August 2020

'Love in action'

'Do everything in love.'
   ... 1 Cor. 16:14

It's important to remember that

love is primarily an action word (verb)

in the Bible, not an emotion.

In fact it is also a noun - for God IS love.
'Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.

"Love never fails"

St. Paul wrote in his first letter
to the people of Corinth (13:6).

In John's first letter he expands the concept,

'Little children, let's not merely say
 that we love one another.
 Let us show the truth by our actions.'... (3:18)

It's good to affirm someone with kind words.
People seems to shy away from making compliments
these days for fear of offending,
but a compliment, sincerely given,
can boost self-esteem,
and most people need reassurance at some time or another.

But the best love comes from actions not words;
a surprise gift, a bunch of flowers,
bar of chocolate (although not if you know
they are watching their weight!),
the offer to run an errand,
do some shopping or help out
in some other way shows we care.
The most extreme example of natural love
is perhaps the parent looking after their child,
and it doesn't have much to do with talking.
It's changing nappies and clearing up mess,
getting up at 3am, feeding, bathing,
playing, bathing grazed knees, wiping away tears.

Christian love, though, is not natural;

Jesus said we must love our enemies,
love those who would do us harm,
which is about the most unnatural things we could ever do.

The world will not reward us for doing it.
By loving those for whom we do not feel natural affection,
we are not fulfilling natural instinct, but obeying the Word of God.

This is part of the cross we pick up when we follow Jesus.
God, who is the embodiment of love,
blesses us so that we can bless others and,
if we are open to him,
he will guide us to those in need.

I am reminded of a favourite book of mine,
written by Frank Pagden
who, through it, introduced me to a friend of his
who 'lives in the back of his mind,'
a monk called St Lynas
(or saintly-ness - say it aloud).
It contains very short stories,
often as a two way conversation with God,
which seem simple but have profound inner meanings.

When asked by St Lynas which of his children
he loved best
God said that it was all those who are in need,
the homeless, the disadvantaged,
the outcasts, refugee, the sick.
St Lynas, feeling left out,
wanted to know where he fitted into the picture.
God pointed out to St Lynas that

he was the one helping God to do the loving.

St Teresa of Avila summed it up like this:
"Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which
he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours."

We love because he [God]
first loved us.... John4:19