Yesterday 10GS hosted a surprise Engagement Celebration for my housemate Jenny and her fiancee Simon (I can never remember which term has the accented ‘e’) – it was wonderful to see a number of our good friends in Durham joining with them as we celebrated their forthcoming marriage (1st Sep?).
There’s great pressure in student Christian culture to idolise relationships, and I think this arises particularly out of the want to be loved. But human affection isn’t bound to the sexually attracted, for the church is a place of costly, sacrificial love, as Jason Clarke explained from John 15.9-17 at BEC on Sunday.
There is a incredible diversity, yet there is a common acknowledgement of sin, and a common acknowledgement of extravagent forgiveness. The one redmedy for failed human love is to know you are loved, and that is Jesus’ is claim: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you’ (15.9). We can know we are loved, as Paul says in Romans 5.8, not in the words of novel, but in the sacrifice of history. It was whilst we were still sinners – it was then – that Christ died for us!
And this, only this, is the true motivation to love others, ‘this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (15.12). It is our duty and our joy to love, in obedience to the one who first loved us. Real love is to real people, and is really hard! But it’s not to be without heart, for it completes our joy (15.11) and it bears fruit, attracting others the love of God.
It is hard, but it is best. It is a command, but it is a response.