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
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.