Not Unhinged: Ultimate valentine ---- The greatest love letter
On this, the day set aside for love, I want to express my love to you who love me. (You know who you are. And I love you from the tiptoes up!)
I also wish to convey my gratitude to those of you who have responded with such warmth and encouragement (or even, on occasion, with vigorous disagreement, but responded nonetheless) to the opinions and the impressions, the happy and the sad and the quirky sides of me ---- and, above all, my perspectives on life in relation to the Scriptures ---- which I've had the joy of sharing with you in this space. (You, too, know who you are. And I thank you from the bottom of my pea-pickin' heart.)
Regarding the quirky side:
as my beloved brother was wont to say (in his most oh-so-tasteful air of gentility and utter raised-brow dignity), "We all have our idiot-syncracies, don't you know."
That said, I'd like to get out of the way now, and defer to the greatest love letter ever written, from the One who loves us most ---- the Word of God.
God our Father so loved us that he gave his only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, who so loved us that he gave his very life to reconcile us to the Father, when there was no other way.
"Jesus said... Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said ... come ... follow me."
"And he turned to the woman, and said ... Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
"For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God."
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
"... Jesus saith ... lovest thou me more than these?"
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:28, 38-39
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
I Corinthians 2:9-10
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast."
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
II Timothy 1:7
"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared... ."
"Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
"We love him, because he first loved us."
I John 4:19
The Holy Bible
(King James Version)
My fathomless God ... what love, this! Thank You for so great love.
Though these passages alone seem vast in scope (and they are), they're but an infinitesimal sampling of the great love letter written to us by God our Creator, who loves us more than we can even begin to comprehend.
The very Word itself is born of his tender love for us ... even in the sternest passages of warnings and commandments. As parents warn their children in order to keep them from danger and harm, so our Father warns us his children in order to keep us from danger and harm. He warns us, not in condemnation, but in love ---- the truest love known to all creation.
It is this relational love between God and each of us that I hope you see here. For love is all about relationship, one to another.
And God so wants us to accept his gift of love, to love him in return, and to live with him and the heavenly host throughout eternity, that he gave his only begotten Son... .