Week 2 Reading Plan: 1 John 1-6 (The Voice), 1 Corinthians 13: MSG
LOVE has been a concept i have wrestled with in my life journey. I've rejected myself as worthy of love. I have settled for lesser loves. I have compromised my value with things that were never designed or able to fill the deepest part of my soul. That part of ourselves that I believe only the love of our creator God is able to fill. This is the truth eternal we fix our eyes and hinge our hopes on this Christmas season. That He loved us first. Loved us into life itself through the breath of life given to Adam & Eve. And loved us way before that - at the beginning of creation itself. This is the miracle of the season. That God first loved.
Take a breath sister - and lets dive into this divine love together - Joanne, She Rises
The Voice introduction to 1 John says it this way: This Gospel begins not with Jesus’ birth or John’s baptism but with a deliberate echo of the creation story in Genesis. It takes us back before time began to the moment when God interrupts the silence and speaks the cosmos into existence.
Scripture tells us in John 1: In the beginning:
Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking.
1 The Voice was and is God. This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator; 3 His speech shaped the entire cosmos. Immersed in the practice of creating, all things that exist were birthed in Him. 4 His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light— 5 A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched
I am utterly convinced it is only love that set the cosmos into motion. And love that placed breath into humanity. God didn't need humans but desired intimacy, connection - the unbroken relationship that we saw Adam and Eve have in the garden. Full of trust. Bursting with hope, beauty and living colour.
Even within the aftershock of the fall, God had a plan to love His people back to life through the gift of His Son. In Genesis 3:15 the prophetic seed of this rescue-plan is spoken:
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel
Even in our darkest moment, God the Father had a plan to love creation back to life. To pay the price for our sin & disobedience. Psalm 85:10 says it this way,
Mercy and loving-kindness and truth have met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
God in his holiness cant partner or have relationship with us in the fracture of sin, so He came up with the ultimate solution to both pay the price (atonement) through His Son (justice), and also give the ultimate gift of mercy. Again, I cannot escape the fact that only Love made God the Father and God the Son do this. Offer up the body of Jesus to pay the ultimate price. He who was no sin became sin - took on my scars, my wounds - your scars, your wounds - and did what only he could do to reconcile creation back to Himself.
Now THIS is true love.
As Christmas is upon us and this Advent week of reflection upon the nature of love - my heart turns to meditating on the nature of this divine love. Jesus was fully God and also fully man - and I wonder how He felt when He new his time on this earth was limited. Did He always know His Father's will? Did he always sense the pull towards His father and the eternal from when He was young? Or did He have a moment of awakening and realisation that His life was not His own. His path was to lay down His life for all who was and is to come. Only the deepest of loves would do that.
As followers of the Way, followers of Jesus we too are called to live a life of love. Pure love. Holy love. One that starts with first receiving a revelation of God's love and pouring it out into the world around us.
This invitation is framed so beautifully in the MSG translation of the 'love chapter' in the Bible 1 Corinthians 13:
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end
So many gorgeous themes ! This passage is pulsating with love, light, vibrancy and truth !
Many days I fail at this task, but lets remain fixed on this invitation and allow God's word to continually reframe our reality and change us from the inside out:
We are bankrupt without love.
Love never gives us.
Love rejoices with the flowering of truth
Sister, as we celebrate, as we honour as we pursue what is good, righteous and holy this season - let love be the greatest of prizes for which we run. And if you don't yet know this Jesus personally let me lead you in a salvation prayer. Can you hear His whisper calling you towards all that is good, right and true. His love light is waiting for you. Just one touch of His love and everything changes - now and into all eternity. More and more I am convinced that everything in life is found upon one name, the name of JESUS.
Father God, thank you for the beautiful woman reading this. Thank you for her heart that is being drawn towards you right now. Her heavenly Father. I ask that you replace any spaces of her heart that have felt 'not loved' with a supernatural infilling of your love. A love that heals and brings divine light. Father, today we confess for the first time or again that our sin and mistakes have separated us from you. We ask for your forgiveness. We acknowledge Jesus as the true Lord and Savour of this world. And from this day forwards ask to live as a follower of Jesus. Thank you that you came to bind up all our wounds, to heal the broken hearted and to set the captives free. Your Son Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and we commit to living all our days for Him, AMEN
If you would like more support for your spiritual journey I would love to pray for you - get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sister, YOU ARE SO LOVED xx