Make Yourself at Home
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
What is love?
As Christians we are called to love. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. “ John 13:35 The ancient Greeks had three Eros- romantic love, philia brotherly love and agape sacrificial love.
Eros- this is not used in the New Testament but it describes most people’s understanding of love; it is romantic love and not the kind of love Jesus commanded Christians to have for one another.
Philia-philia love is encouraged as it is brotherly love but not commanded. Philia love is emotional responsive love. This also includes affection mutual respect, and camaraderie. Philia love is beautiful, inspiring, and touching it is also friendship. But is not the kind of love Jesus commanded Christians to have for one another.
Agape- love that is commanded love and is uniquely Christian love It promises meaningful relationships and not the emotion based love of philia. It is an act of the will. It is characterized by acts of sacrificial service. And agape love consistently seeks the benefit of another person. It is always giving! Agape love may be hard to define but we know it when we see it.—Jesus agape loved us so much he gave himself for us!
Early Christians believed in agape love—All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possession to give to anyone who had need.” Acts 2:44-45
Love is central to Christianity—God is love (I John 4:16) God does not ‘do’ love- God IS love! The goal for us as believers is to love from a pure heart. Wherever love is true—God is there.
What is your understanding of ‘love’? By using the Greek translations of love we can redefine who and what we are to love and how close that loving relationship should/ ought to be. When we are in church community the love we experience is because of the love we each have for Jesus and so we want to share it with others. And it is in this loving relationship we remember who we are and what we can be with and for each other. Have you told others in your church that you love them?
A short song has these lyrics: “I love you with the love of the Lord. Yes I love you with the love of the Lord. I can see in you the glory of my King and I love you with the love of the Lord.” Would you be comfortable singing this song with your church family? This song expresses the love we are commanded to have with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Are we willing to share it?
God you command us to love each other. Help us to do this when it seems to difficult to reach out and share our love for you with others. Enable us to do this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Resource: (based upon) Kay Swatkowski “Make Yourself at Home: Discovering the Heart of the Church” Discovery House Publishers, Our Daily Bread Ministries, 2016 (ch.2)