Grace Episcopal Church
The Call To Love
By Rev. Caroline Osborne
Think of someone you love. Someone you are absolutely confident you love, without question. Someone you know you would throw yourself on a grenade to save. That’s love, right?
God’s call to each and every Christian is to love like that. 1 John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” That sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
But remember that love is not just hugs and laughter, but a willingness to throw yourself on a grenade to save them. Love is tough. Love is challenging. Really loving someone else is one of the most demanding things we can ever do.
And remember that God’s call to love is not a call to love only those we already know or like. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven…” (Matthew 5:43-45a). What makes Christians’ love distinctive is that it extends to everyone, without any exceptions.
So my question to you is this: if the person you love, the person you would throw yourself on a grenade to save, were consistently being at risk of being treated poorly, injured, or even killed, wouldn’t you be upset and push for changes to protect them? And if you are called to love even strangers with that same intense love, are you loving your African American brothers and sisters with that love? Are you doing everything in your power to stop the unjust ways they are treated and police brutality they face? If not, can you honestly claim to love?
This should be a challenge to all of us. Perhaps most challenging of all are the verses later in 1 John "Those who say, 'I love God,' and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also." (4:20-21).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, love your brothers, love your sisters, love your neighbors, love your enemies, and love the people you have never met who need you to speak out against injustice.