February 15, 2022
By Pastor Jeff Fox-Kline
I’m so grateful that I have love in my life.
I’m thankful that I have people who know me, who know me entirely, and choose to love me.
I am enriched by the love that surrounds me when I think of those in my life.
It’s Valentine’s Day today (when I’m writing, not when you’re reading)…
and I am very much feeling loved. Loved for and despite who I am.
And loved by God.
We are very quick to say that God is love, and that truth sustains me in difficult times, but I also don’t know what it actually means to say that God is love. We know that Jesus provides the peace that surpasses understanding, and I think it very appropriate to say that the transcendent love that God has for us is well beyond our comprehension as well.
But we’re made in the image of God.
If God is love, and we bear God’s image, then that means the love we share with one another is a taste of the love that God feels for us. Created in the image of God, we bear this love to one another as a reminder of God’s steadfast presence.
So I don’t know what the full extent of God’s love feels like, but even just getting a hint of it feels like a world-altering thing. This is love that amplifies the joy and hope of those things in life that are beautiful. This is the love that shares the burdens and lessens the load when things in life become heavy. I have this love from my wife, but this isn’t a romantic love. I have this love from my daughter, but it isn’t paternal love. I have this love from my extended family, but this love is beyond familial connections.
While they all love me in their own particular ways and in their own particular roles, the uniting force behind that love is a sympathetic and empathetic response to the fullness of my self. Not to say that they will always agree with or support everything I do, but the love that I feel from them is above things like that.
This is the love we feel when we declare the great cloud of witnesses. The love our ancestors felt when they dreamt about the future is present in that cloud. The love our descendants feel for us while we remain in their past is present in that cloud. The love of a life partner is in this cloud. The love of a friend you lost touch with is in this cloud. The love of a stranger who you’ve never met yet shares in our common creed is in this cloud. Even the love that your enemies struggle to manifest but strive for anyway is present in this cloud.
In all moments I hope we can remember this love.
When you’ve climbed to the top of the mountain and shout in ecstasy remember that this joy is multiplied by the way you are held in love.
When you’ve descended into the deepest valley and are handed a shovel, remember that this agony is borne and held sacred by the love of our invisible bonds.
When you are here, and when you are absent, this love remains, and distance or circumstance cannot tarnish the radiance of this love.
And this is just a fraction of the love God has for us.
If this sliver of love is so potent, then it’s probably for the best that we don’t understand the extent of God’s love until such a time as we reunite with God as we resume the abundant life promised.
I love you all.