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This is love

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Pastor Mary Ivanov

Cedar Springs United Methodist Church

140 S. Main St., Cedar Springs, MI  49319

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” I John 4: 7-12 (NIV).

It’s Valentine’s Day, and in our house, that means signing names on cards for classmates, giving treats to friends, and decorating boxes to receive cards at school. This year, it also means sending some cards to family members far away—even my grandmother who is now 91 years old! It was fun to go through these traditions again. We are a part of the billions of dollars spent on candy, flowers, and other Valentine’s Day gifts each year. (The National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent over $17 billion in 2012!)

But what about going beyond the traditions of gifts and last-minute card-buying? The words from First John challenge us to realize that God’s love is agape love that makes sacrifices for the sake of others because of the sacrifice God makes for you and me in Jesus Christ. It is God’s love in our lives that motivates us to love each other.

So, in the hype of Valentine’s Day itself, how will we show God’s love (agape love) to others? To our spouses? Our children? Our loved ones? Our neighbors? Our friends? The stranger whom we encounter at the store? The person with whom we have trouble getting along? The neighbor who is lonely?

The promise of God’s Word is that when we love as God loves us, then we grow in faith and trust in God and others know the power of God’s love in their lives. Our relationship with Christ is stronger, and we know the blessing of God’s love even more powerfully. We share the witness of God’s grace when we love.

If you don’t have a church home or have been away for a while, consider getting back to church or trying it out for the first time. I invite you to worship with us this Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. We share the love and hope of Jesus Christ!

 

Pastor Mary Ivanov

Cedar Springs United Methodist Church

140 S. Main St. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

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