Love is at the centre of the Universe
Keeping love at the centre of everything we do will transform our relationships with each other, and bring us closer to Jesus. Rev Philip Young shares his views.
‘God is love and those who live in love live in God’ (1 John 4:16)
I don’t know about you but I love a good wedding. The above words from the first letter of John are used at the beginning of the modern marriage service in the Church of England. When two people are joined together in love then God is at work. God is at work whenever people come together in love.
I believe this to be so whatever the sex or orientation of the people involved. I personally wish to celebrate love whenever it arises, and I am in favour of same sex marriage. God, it seems to me, must love it when we show love to one another, and to my way of thinking, that deserves to be recognised and blessed as being part of God’s creative love in the universe.
Love always brings people into unity. It is in the nature of love to unite and to cross barriers. We also read in the first letter of John that: ‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.’ (I John 4:18)
There is a completeness and wholeness in love, and John’s purpose in writing his first letter is that: ‘our joy may be complete’ (1 John 1:4). The wonderful news is that God loves us first whilst we are still sinners and God’s love has the power to bring us to full wholeness and health. God does not want us to remain alone and in sin for a moment longer.
Somehow we find it very difficult to believe that God loves us unconditionally whatever we have done or will do. In our fearfulness we think in terms of punishment. We think we are not good enough and that God will punish us. But the perfect love of God is such that he loves us just as we are.
God, of course, does not want us to remain as we are, but rather be transformed by his love. ‘Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God’ writes John (1 John 4:7). God wants us to grow up into that perfect love and wants to transform us by his love.
We find the perfection of love revealed to us in the life and death of Jesus, God’s Son. I think if we see the cross and resurrection in terms of punishment then we are not viewing it from the perspective of love. God loves Jesus, and us, from the beginning of time until the end of time and forever. God does not need to punish his own Son, or his sons and daughters, for sins committed.
In the cross and resurrection love is revealed to be at the centre of all. Forgiveness and love are seen at the very centre of history and the universe. ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’ cries Jesus from the cross, (Matthew 23:34). Despite being provoked by the fear and hatred of those who condemn him to death, Jesus shows love and forgiveness at this central moment in the history of the human race. And in the resurrection we see love triumphing over hatred.
Love transforms us and unifies all. All is reconciled. So God and man are brought together in Jesus, and at the cross divine love transforms everything and everyone. A new heaven and a new earth are born. Love is at the centre of everything, and all our relationships are transformed by love.
Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans.
Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. He is now a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters and is currently writing his first book called, ‘Vote for Love’. He is available to give talks, presentations or to preach, and has Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Norwich.
The “universe” image above is by kind permission of Flavio Takemoto at http://www.freeimages.com/
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