“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”- Romans 13:8
Do you believe in coincidences? I don’t…
This year, as it so happens, Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season that allows us the priceless opportunity to walk hand in hand with Jesus Christ as he begins his last days on earth before his crucifixion and resurrection. It is, quite simply, the most beautiful gift that God could have possibly given us during this season to create a convergence of these two dates in a timeless reminder of what is most important in our lives…LOVE.
For the past few weeks, you could not walk into a store without being assaulted by the fragrance of chocolate and flowers, the sight of stuffed animals overflowing the aisles and our dancers personal favorite color (pink), everywhere, making it impossible to ignore Valentine’s Day. For this one day every year, a special emphasis and sometimes pressure is placed on remembering all of the significant relationships in our lives; but are we just as careful to slow down and take a closer look at THE most significant relationship that we are blessed to have…with Almighty God, and His passionate, amazing, everlasting love for us?
Over the past few days during devotion time in dance class, we have taken a closer look at Jesus responding to a teacher of the law who asked him, ‘ “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12: 29-31. As we unpacked this verse, it became all too clear that our focus needs to be on sending all of our love to God FIRST before loving others, but even more captivating is that in looking closer at this statement we were able to uncover the heart of God that longs for a deep and all-consuming relationship with us.
First Corinthians 13: 4-8 is one of the most beloved and well known verses in scripture speaking of the attributes of love as being patient, kind, never envious, or boastful, never keeping a record of wrong, not delighting in evil, but rejoicing in truth; it is protective, hopeful, persevering….and everlasting. It is in the book of Jeremiah that God speaks of loving us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31: 3), and if you truly look at the Bible, you hold in your hands the greatest love story imaginable. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15: 13. We deceive ourselves if we think that any beauty and unselfishness in ourselves that will allow us to extend ourselves to another person can possibly exist without the Source of Love himself…God. In this season, by sacrificially offering his own son to die a terrible death for us, God Himself demonstrated the extent and unfathomable possibilities of what true love looks like. If we examine the life of Christ and the way that he chose to live every day in perfect loving obedience to His Father, we clearly see love in the flesh as an example to imitate.
The undeniable circle of the beauty of this particular Wednesday, February 14th 2018, is found where these two amazing holidays converge. While we commemorate the beginning of a journey with Jesus Christ that challenges us to be introspective and look at our own hearts as we look toward the cross, we are encouraged to rejoice and celebrate the significance of those close to us and of the capacity to love one another. We are given an incredible opportunity to discover this love from God for ourselves that changes us, and then go out and love each other well. May your Lenten journey be nothing less than heart and life-changing and may you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day,