On what day of the year do we most celebrate love? You might think the obvious answer is on Valentine’s Day which has already passed this year. After all, this is the day on which millions of pounds (billions actually ..) will have been spent on cards, gifts, flowers, candlelit dinners and other special treats with the intention of showing somebody that they are loved. Good though that is, I would pose the question, is there a better example, a day which even more than Valentine’s day, might show somebody that they are loved? Not loved for one day, not with a love that might fade with time or familiarity, but with a love that is constant and unchanging. Does the opportunity to see that sort of love in action sound attractive?
Don’t get me wrong, I am completely in favour of the sentiment of Valentine’s day although not so much in favour of the commercialisation of love which is so evident in this annual bonanza for the retail trade. For that one day, it is perhaps easy to make a grand gesture but surely we should be equally concerned to show the same love for the remaining three hundred and sixty four days in the year. Not necessarily by spending money or giving gifts but by showing the high value which we place on the relationship, desiring the very best for the one we love and being prepared to consider their interest before our own, always encouraging, always supportive and loving them as we would ourselves like to be loved.
Is it possible to love like that, do we have an example to follow and, to return to my original question, is there a single day on which we might be reminded of it and even celebrate it? I would like to suggest that we look ahead to Easter, and particularly Good Friday, to see that sort of love in action. For Christians, Easter is the celebration, on Good Friday, of the death of Jesus on the cross and, on Easter Sunday, of his resurrection. But why Good Friday, why should the death of Jesus on the cross be for us the supreme example of love.
In one of the New Testament letters, written nearly two thousand years ago, it is explained like this: We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us (1 John 3:16) and later, in the same letter: This is real love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins (1 John 4:10). Jesus died as the supreme example of love. We had done nothing to deserve it, but it was because God so loved us and wanted to deal, once and for all, with the things which had broken our relationship with him, even at the cost of his own son’s life. The death and resurrection of Jesus make forgiveness and eternal life possible for all who believe in him. That’s God’s greatest gift, his greatest promise and how he showed his love for us. We might not love as perfectly as that but it is an example of how we ought to live and love thinking more about others than ourselves. What a difference it would make if we were all a little less selfish and thought a bit more about how our actions affected the ones we say we love. It would make such a difference, not only to their lives, but to our own as well.
If you would like to find out for yourself something more about God’s love for you, please get in touch. You don’t have to wait until Easter, but this year might be the perfect opportunity for you to learn more of its true meaning. You would be very welcome to join us on:
Good Friday 14th April at 10.30am
Easter Sunday 16th April at 10.30am