“…we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”
I John 4:16
God is Love
The conditions of your life – to whom you were born, how you were raised, how you were helped, how you were hurt, how you’ve been encouraged or discouraged, how you’ve lost your way along the way – it’s in those conditions that God has met you and God will meet you. God’s love for you is without condition.
– Br. Curtis Almquist
Transcript: The focus for our first week is “God is Love” – that God’s love for you is unconditional, which is to say that the conditions in which you have known life – to whom you were born, how you were raised, how you were helped, how you were hurt, how you’ve been encouraged or discouraged, how you’ve lost your way along the way – those are the conditions in which you have known your life. And it’s in those conditions that God has met you and God will meet you.
Not just in the best of times. Hopefully you’ve had some wonderful times where God’s light and life and love has been mediated to you through people and through the circumstances of life. But also in the worst of times, which may well be how God has most broken through to you. When you are without hope or power of your own, your experience of brokenness becomes God’s breakthrough.
We’ll talk this week about how God’s love for you is without condition.
Our focus for today is God is Love. And we draw our inspiration from I John 4:16: “God is love. Those who abide in God, abide in love and God’s love abides in them.”
Now, that verb, abide, is repeated 63 times in the Gospel According to John and the three epistles — 63 times! Now, why the repetition? There are some things in life that do not need to be repeated. We don’t need reminders. For example, we don’t need to be reminded to breathe several times a minute in order to do that. We don’t need to be reminded to sleep some every day. Maybe to sleep more, but we will sleep at some point during the day.
So, why is this recurring reminder to abide? I think it’s because many of us are prone to run away. We cannot imagine that God could or would love us, given the circumstances of our life. We’re not disciplined enough, focused enough, generous enough, forgiving enough, compassionate enough. We’ve got our list of rejections because we find those rejecting qualities inadmissible and unacceptable. We presume that God is blocked out. And yet, I think it’s exactly the opposite: that God will reach through to us in the best of times and God will also reach through to us in the worst of times. And the invitation is not to run away but to stay where we are, which is where God is going to come to meet us, where God’s light and life and love for us will be mediated.
A question for you: Think back on your life. How has God’s love for you been mediated? Through whom has that happened? How has that happened, that you have come to know something about God’s love? And then conversely, where do you find in yourself any resistance? Is there something about you, who you are, how you are, as you are, the way you are, that you think precludes God’s love for you? I beg to differ. I beg to differ.