Summary: It is the most recognised word in any language, it is the subject used most commonly in literature, both fiction and non- fiction, it is the most common central theme for lyricists in secular and religious song writing alike and is responsible for selling
On the 24th February 1981, our country and indeed the world was captivated by the official announcement of the engagement of our future king, Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. When asked by journalists “Were they in love?” they both replied “yes”, actually if I remember correctly, Lady Diana added “of course!” Our future king’s addition is remembered better, he added “Whatever love means.”
The word love is defined in the dictionary as “A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.” To be in love is defined as having as “Experiencing deep affection or intense desire for another.”
In the New Testament the word love is mentioned 228 times, if you add up all its deritives such as loving, loves etc it totals over 500 mentions. It is the most recognised word in any language, it is the subject used most commonly in literature, both fiction and non- fiction, it is the most common central theme for lyricists in secular and religious song writing alike and is responsible for selling more greeting cards than any other subject but what is the true meaning of love?
In this morning’s scripture reading, Jesus opens our eyes to the true nature of love when he said “Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second
is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In this passage Jesus gives us three directions for love, they are:
love toward God, love toward others and love toward ourselves.
Our love for God is an upward love that must take priority over everything else. When we first entered college, we were fired up to do the work God had called us to do, however, as the essays started to come in I found myself pushing God to the back of my priorities in order to meet the deadlines. The time I normally reserved for my daily appointment with God, which was usually first thing in the morning, was swallowed up by working into the early hours to finish assignments, which meant that, where I would normally spend an hour at the beginning of the day I was barely able to snatch fifteen minutes. This meant that I felt spiritually dry for the rest of the day but more importantly, I was not showing God the love and attention that is rightfully his. Thankfully the situation was resolved but for me it hi-lighted the dangers of getting so wrapped up in the busy ness of working for God that we end up neglecting to give the one we serve the full love and attention he deserves, God deserves all of our love, not only part of our love. We should love nobody more than we love God. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
As I look out at you today, I know that many of you have a deep and abiding love of God and I also know that many of you will ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' But I wonder if any of you can truly say that you love God unconditionally as he loves you? I know that even though some of you may be suffering inwardly at the moment you will still love God with a passion that illness nor anything else can take away but I want you to be honest with yourself and ask yourself the question “Do I really love God unconditionally?”