I have 12 weddings this summer, not a ton, but a fair number. At some point when I sit down with each couple during the pre-marriage council sessions I will tell them my philosophy on love. That is quite simply, love is not simply an emotion, or a feeling, at its core love is a way of life, love takes effort, love is the hardest work you will ever do and it is worth it!
It’s not that I don’t go in for romance, but we don’t need to go there today. But think about love even in a romantic context. It still takes work. Someone has to prepare a lovely evening on the town; clear the schedule, make the phone call to reserve a spot at the restaurant, by the tickets for the play, call the baby sitter, and the list goes on… even romance is hard work my friends!
In the book of faith Lenten Journey devotions today we continue looking at what life in the kingdom is like. Love is the norm, our devotions say that “the rule of God is the rule of love.” They go on to talk about the scribe who asks what the greatest commandment is and Jesus responds first love God and second to love your neighbor as yourself. The scribe is then gets just bubbly about how great Jesus is… and Jesus replies you are not far from the kingdom of God. (Mark 12:28-34)
I really like what comes next so I will put it here verbatim. “Not far? Why not in? Perhaps because Jesus saw a difference between knowing the right answers and living the right answers. The distance between “not far” and “in” is the distance between talking about love and loving.”
That distance can be huge for us. Loving as a way of life is hard work. As I read these devotions to day a photo I saw on the net someplace came to mind and through the power of Google… I found it.
It reminds me of Paul’s words in Romans 12 “No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
To love the co-worker who has stabbed you in the back, to love the family member who over and over and over again has broken your heart is hard work. It is the work of a way of life, it never really ends. Jesus never said life in the kingdom would be easy. In fact he sort of promises the opposite. But as we journey through lent we are reminded that in God loves us so much that he gave his only Son so that we might live in his love.