On January 19, Rev. David Cooney preached a sermon that started us on a new sermon series based on the book, Reckless Love: Jesus Call to Love Our Neighbors by Tom Berlin. Some of you have asked about the book. It was printed by Abingdon Press last year and is available on Amazon.com and Cokebury.com for $10.49. There are six chapters that we will be looking at for the six weeks before the start of Lent. The book provides a framework for considering how to live out Jesus’ command to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
To love as Jesus loved is a great challenge. It doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come without risk. Jesus calls us to love in ways that defy all the usual ways we think about loving. Just look at what Jesus said,
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. (Luke 6:32-33)
Clearly, he was talking about something different than what we usually think of when we here the word “love”. The love Jesus talks about is not infatuation. It’s not an intense feeling of deep affection. It’s not a great interest and pleasure in someone or something. Neither is it a romantic attachment. Instead, the love Jesus spoke of and modeled is a matter of orientation and disposition. Love is not something we fall into, in spite of ourselves, but rather an intentional decision we make about how we will relate to another person or our creator. It’s a choice we make and to remain in love will always require some effort on our part.
This passage from Luke 6 tells us that we can love even those who don’t love us back. By extension, it is fair to say one might be able to love someone that they do not particularly “LIKE” and even those who aren’t very lovable at all. All this is possible because of God’s reckless and inexhaustible love at work within us. With God’s love in us, we can love like Jesus loved.
I hope to see you as we continue to see what RECKLESS love can mean for us and our world.
Pastor Steve Larsen