For the first time since 1945, Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday share the same date. Valentines Day, a holiday designed to celebrate romance, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of lent, may seem to have little in common. One seems so light hearted and romantic; While the other feels more weighty and somber. However, this convergence is the perfect time to lean in and take a closer look at what they hold in common: love.
Whether you reflect today on love due to the hearts, roses and chocolates of Valentine's Day or the ashes spread across your forehead in worship, your status as "beloved" remains true and unchangeable thanks to the LOVE that surpasses all loves-- God's love.
YOU are loved, plain & simple, but LOVE is a difficult concept to wrap our heads around. When asked what God's love is like often we find ourselves struggling to put something so complex into words, often resorting to illustrations. But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
God’s love is like the first fire in your fireplace of the year. Warming, beautiful, cheery, invites contemplation and is best enjoyed with others. And it always carries a hint of danger....how quickly it can spread and even consume......which is part of the draw, right?
-Pastor Sue Ericsson
God’s love is like ‘the air we breathe’ – to reference an old praise song. It’s essential for life but the very life it provides often keeps us so occupied (or distracted) that it goes unnoticed, unacknowledged and unappreciated. No matter, though, God’s love continues to speak, listen, embrace, reprove and replenish the world which that love created, redeemed and continues to inhabit. God's love gives all and requires no bargaining. God's love hopes, helps and heals. All we need to say is 'thanks' and ask how can I get in on the action!
-Pastor Mary Konopka
God’s love is like a swimming pool on a hot summer day. It’s in front of me (and you) inviting us to find refreshment. Sometimes we stare at it from a distance. Sometimes we sit on the edge and simply stick in a toe or sit and dangle our feet into the water. Sometimes we wade in tentatively. Sometimes we realize that what is in front of is exactly what we need; We run, leap and plunge in with joyful abandon. In those moments of being refreshed, our response has the wonderful ability to make others want to jump in, too!
-Pastor Matt Staniz
God, we thank you for your consuming love and the way it warms our hearts and refreshes our souls. We praise you for continuing to lavish that love on us even when it goes unnoticed, unacknowledged and unappreciated. Help us today to recognize your love on the move in the world around us, to plunge in with joyful abandon, and to invite others to do the same.
What do you picture when you think of God's love? Share with us how you would finish the phrase "God's love is like..." in the comments below.