In previous blogs we have looked at the connections Dublin has with St Valentine but now as we anticipate the anonymous Valentine card with its ‘guess who’ in disguised handwriting let’s have a closer look at this thing called love.
Some call it chemistry that attracts one to another and certainly that could account for the occasional explosion! My own preference would be to call it magnetism where you get like poles repelling and unlike poles attracting each other. It would explain the glorious absurdity of the attraction of opposites, so that we don’t end up loving a carbon copy of ourselves.
Many things in life trigger a response but none are more life-changing than this thing called love. It has been said with a great deal of truth that ‘love begets love’. It is the completing of the circuit so that current may flow and light up two lives. It was there at the creation of the world, ‘And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness’. We might say this created light was earthed in Jesus as St John wrote in the prologue to his Gospel, ‘The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world’ (Chapter 1 verse 9).
Love arrived in the tangible form of the Son of God. St Paul writing to the church at Corinth explains how the Lord has opened the eyes of believers to make the connection with Christ, ‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ’ (2 Corinthians Chapter 4 verse 6).
So if the light of God is the conduit through which we see the love of God we could expect St John to mention it and this he does in his 1st letter. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin’ (Chapter 1 verses 5 to 7).
It only remains for St John to spell out his definition of love and illustrate it which he does in Chapter 4 verse 10 – ‘This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’. The hymn-writer puts it well –
Inscribed upon that cross we see
In shining letters “God is Love.”
He bears our sins upon the tree,
He brings us mercy from above.
And that is the measure of the love with which He loves us and from which we may find the strength to love one another.
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