By David Baumann
A Reading from 1 John 4:7-16
7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So 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.
The 13th chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is popularly known as “the love chapter” of the New Testament, and of course it is. But today’s reading has at least as strong a claim to the title, if not a better one. The word “love” is used eighteen times in ten verses, including the often-quoted “God is love.” In the past few days we’ve read lessons that exult in the triumph of God and his faithful over sin and evil and the utter and forever vanquishing of all that corrupts. Today’s lesson is an exultant consummation of that theme, almost explosive with joy that is the love of God manifested in our lives. Where Paul ends his “love chapter” with the words, “the greatest of these is love,” today’s lesson immerses us in that very love which is the very nature of God, in whom all virtues take their meaning and find their fulfillment. All that we can be and all that we can do find their true life within the radiance of immortal and divine love. Christina Rosetti’s poem, first published in 1885, captures all of this in simple but profound words:
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas…
David Baumann has been an Episcopal priest for 47 years, mainly in the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Springfield. He is now retired and has published nonfiction, science fiction novels, and short stories.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The peace of Jerusalem and the people of Bethlehem
Diocese of Pennsylvania and the Rt. Rev. Daniel G.P. Gutiérrez