‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ John 15:13
Simon and Garfunkel sang, ‘I am a rock, I am an island. A rock feels no pain and an island never cries.’ This is a sad and despairing song. To seek to escape from love is to desire not to be human. Love causes pain, but without love we just become creatures who exist and expire. The reason why there is grieving and crying at funerals is that we feel the pain of separation from the one we love. Love is integral to who we are as human beings, It is part and parcel of our DNA and ultimately makes life worth living. As Christians we believe love begins with God. It is expressed in creation and particularly in the creation of people with whom God desired a relationship. The Christmas celebration we look forward to in a few weeks, is about God still seeking that relationship through the incarnation and the sacrifice of the cross. Jesus is the initiative taken by God, as he goes to the cross. The salvation of the world was the initiative of God and the act of love shown in the incarnation meant sacrifice. The desired response from those who claim to be believers, to be followers of Christ, is that we love one another as he has loved us. Inspiring love is supremely exemplified in Jesus Christ. John put it like this: ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.’ 1John 3:1. It is represented by the communion table to which all who come seeking him are welcome.