Today is Good Friday and a somber reminder of what the real meaning of “love” is all about. The word love is hard to wrap my brain around sometimes because it means so many different things to all of us. But today love is about Jesus and what it actually means when He gave up His life for me and for you, to walk the road of the cross–for restoration. After all these years I still can’t fathom all that His sacrifice means other than His death on the cross making a way for me to experience the fullness of God and His love for me. The message is simple and is contained in a four letter word LOVE that was put to the test over 2000 years ago.
I guess this hit home for me when I was out on the street of Whalley at NightShift a few weeks ago. I was leading worship with two friends. It was a cold, dark and blustery rainy night. There was nothing sacred about us singing worship songs while a hundred or more people lined up to get a meal, it was just plain miserable outside. I watched people huddle together in the cold grateful for a warm bowl of soup to take the chill off. I heard and saw the pain and brokenness through their haunted eyes, some high on drugs, others a sadness beyond words as they slumped over discouraged and defeated. And then while we were singing a song about how much God loves us, repeating the chorus over and over, it hit me–this is love. This is why Jesus did what he did for me and for them.
I might not be on the street poor or homeless, but without love I am poor. Now, I know that it isn’t profound, but it was for me in that moment. Sometimes I make love too complicated and it is really quite simple as I looked out over the crowd. My heart grieved and was so sad because I wanted my street friends to know God’s love the same way and how it penetrates my soul giving me life in the midst of a storm or my own brokenness. I did speak those words out after we sang, and told the story of how Jesus was with the disciples in the storm. They weren’t a captive audience, but my hope was that in that night, the hot meal, the songs about love and Jesus, kind words and smiles would be a seed planted that love does and can change everything. All we need is love? Is it really that simple? I think so, because love is God and God is love and Jesus proved it….”This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” John 3:16,17 (Message Bible)This is LOVE!