“What the world needs now is love, sweet love….”
Things are pretty crazy out there this year: protests become violent, gunmen still roam to shoot up innocents, violent Islamists are making things even worse in the Middle-East, and tension ratchets up in the Holy Land. I just don’t know what to think. Even here in our midst, I feel the edge of gossip and scanty information leading to accusations and suspicion. It’s true that what the world needs is love, but it’s also pretty clear to me that the love we are capable of giving on our own is not enough to fix anything. So it’s a good thing that the source of love and light for us comes from God. It’s the love we need because it’s the only love we have that is unconditional and persistent. In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul tells us that love never ends. It’s God’s love he’s talking about, because even the deepest and purest love we have to share with each other is tempered by our health, our patience, our expectations, our trust.
Besides being unconditional, God’s love is also powerful. It is God’s love that raised Jesus from death, and that brings new life to us when we think we just can’t go on. It is the power of God’s love that builds the community that supports us and witnesses to faith when our own faith doesn’t seem strong enough. It’s that love that we count on, and it’s that love we share when we pray for others, talk about our faith, do acts of kindness and justice in the world.
It is not just some sentimental love that we need, a love that ignores our flaws and failures. The love the world needs is the powerful and tough love of God that holds us tight and never lets us go. It’s the love that recognizes all the ways we fail and loves us anyway. It is the love instilled in us when we accept the love of God poured out for us in Jesus who came to be one of us. In his ministry, Jesus showed us what tough love can do, inviting the outsider, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, raising the dead. In his death he showed us that God’s love is fearless in the face of evil, and in his resurrection, he showed us that real love can always create life, even from what looks like death. That’s the love I want to heal my fears and anxieties as the New Year begins, the tough and tender love that never ends.
John the Evangelist tells us that the light of God’s love shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. That’s the love I need. That’s the love I want to share. Wishing you the blessings of this love.
In God’s unfailing love,