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Why should we prioritize love?

In the annals of history, June 25, 1967 stands as a pivotal date, marked by a groundbreaking event that reverberated across the globe. It was the inaugural worldwide satellite broadcast, aptly named "Our World," simultaneously reaching 24 countries through four communication satellites. An estimated 400-700 million viewers tuned in, witnessing a momentous occasion in human communication.

Yet amidst the technological marvels of the era, a cultural phenomenon unfolded: the debut of a song that would become an anthem for generations. "All You Need Is Love," penned by John Lennon and performed by The Beatles, encapsulated the zeitgeist of the times. Lennon, known for his outspoken advocacy for peace, later revealed that he crafted the song as a "propaganda piece" in the fervent climate of the 1960s, marked by social upheaval and the Vietnam War.

But what Lennon perhaps didn't realize was that the essence of his message—love—had deep roots in a much older tradition, one that predates even the Beatles themselves. Long before the era of satellite broadcasts and global icons, the message of love and peace resonated through the teachings of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

The Bible tells the story of God making the world whole again. This theme is vividly portrayed in the Acts of the Apostles, where the Apostle Peter, guided by a divine vision, proclaims the gospel to the household of Cornelius, a Roman centurion. Witnessing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Gentile believers, Peter recognizes the universality of God's love and desire to save all people by declaring, "Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." (Acts 10:47)

This scene encapsulates the essence of God's redemptive plan: the invitation extended to all people, irrespective of background or ethnicity, to partake in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The Psalmist echoes this sentiment, proclaiming, "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him." (Psalm 98:1)

At the heart of this salvation narrative lies the call to obedience—a theme reiterated throughout the Scriptures. In the First Epistle of John, we are reminded that true love for God is expressed through obedience to his commandments. This concept echoes the ancient Hebrew shema, which exhorts believers to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:4-6).

Jesus himself embodies this love in his earthly ministry, exemplifying selfless obedience to his Father's will. In his farewell discourse recorded in the Gospel of John, Jesus instructs his disciples to abide in his love and commands them to love one another as he has loved them. He then makes clear what it means to remain obedient to his Father, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15:9-17).

Let's bring all of this together. If God's desire is to make the world whole again, and if he plans to do this by calling all the nations back to himself, then we must ask how. How does all this work? If we listen to the words and watch the actions of Jesus, this is what we see: love is the answer. Loving God and loving others. Loving God is about being obedient to God, and when we love God we will love others. By loving others, we're loving God. This cycle becomes the way of life for the follower of Jesus, and out of this cycle comes human flourishing.

We need to look no further than loving God and loving others to find a meaningful life.

The message resounds loud and clear: love is central to human flourishing. It transcends cultural boundaries and temporal epochs, finding its ultimate expression in the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. As we navigate the complexities of life, may we heed the call to love God and one others, for therein lies the key to true fulfillment and harmony in this world.

Watch the full sermon from which this blog was adapted:


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