The word is… love
April 11, 2016
Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.
By Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg
My family of origin was not a fan of the phrase, “I love you.” It just wasn’t something we said out loud to each other. I asked my mom why we never said “I love you” growing up. She was shocked. She said, “Have you ever for one second doubted my love for you? All these years, each day, have you ever for one moment thought that we did not love you?”
I had to admit I had not ever doubted her love. She said, “We can say it if it makes you feel better, but if we already know it, if we live it, in my mind we don’t need to say it.”
Jesus’ commands to “love one another as I have loved you” and the idea that “God is love” both show us that love is an action word, a verb. It’s certainly not something so squishy and changeable as a feeling.
Love is something you do, like washing feet or feeding the hungry or visiting the prisoner. This is a liberating thought, because it means that we could even get better at love through practice, again without regard for something like how we felt about things.
Still, spiritual disciplines are a response to God’s grace and an invitation to that grace. In this dance of faith, the Holy Spirit has a way of “forming the Savior in the soul,” to quote Charles Wesley. Faithful actions put us at risk to have our hearts softened by God’s grace.
Easter celebrates that God so loved the world that God didn’t just say “I love you.” God acted, repeatedly, out of that love, by creating and covenanting, by sending the Son, and when we rejected him, by raising him from the dead. It’s the sort of active love my mother could get behind.
It’s the sort of active love we are called to show to others as Easter people.
I am a big, big fan of “I love you” with the people in my life. But I’ve learned from Jesus and Mama that a Resurrection love needs to break open graves, wash feet and change lives.
That’s the way to say, “I love you” this Easter season.
By Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill
“Show your love.” – Steve Harvey
From 1994 until 2001, every person that took the stage for amateur night at the famous Apollo Theater in New York City heard those words before they took the stage.
The host of the show for those years was comedian Steve Harvey. Knowing that the person about to perform was full of nerves, facing a hostile audience and probably scared to death, before they came out, Harvey would instruct the audience to show their love by giving them a warm welcoming round of applause. No matter what happened next, the contestant was welcomed not with boos or silence, but with an expression of love.
You see, love is a verb. It is an action. It’s not just what you say, or what people think and feel on the inside, love is what you do. Love is the kind word that you share with the person who needs to hear it. Love is when you go out of your way to make someone feel special, or to lift their load, or to forgive their offence, or to turn the other cheek. Jesus told us, “no greater love is there than to lay down your life for your friends.”
In short, love always requires action. Love will always require you to do something, be something or say something, so that what you feel on the inside can be seen and felt by the one that you love.
Day by day, we have the opportunity to show our love to people. If there is someone who you love, take the time to show them. Show them with a few kind words. Show them with a heartfelt gesture. Show them you love them by spending a little quality time with them unexpectedly.
Let them know that you love them by picking up a little gift, just because you care. Let them know you love them by affirming them and telling them that they are special and loved. If you can’t find the words, or a gift, sometimes a big hug will say what you couldn’t.
What you do matters far less than that you do something. When you love someone, you want them to absolutely know it. So take a little time, day by day, to show your love.
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