Sharp About Your Prayers

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What is LOVE?

November 15th, 2010 · 13 Comments · Faith and the City

You know the song.

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored;
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.
They will know we are Christians by our love.

It was written by Peter Scholtes, a Catholic priest.  It conveys the sweet side, the swaying, hand-holding side of the decade in which it was written—the 1960’s.  It also points to something that Jesus clearly, repeatedly proclaimed:  To be his disciple is to be identified not by words, or doctrines, or moral purity, but by the love you show to your neighbor.

This week I am finishing up a sermon series that has focused (for ten weeks) on various commands that Jesus gave to the disciples.  We have made our way through:  Knock, Wash, Thank, Spit, Share, Fear (not), Feast, Visit, and Raise.

Week #10 is… Love.

It is probably the most important, most distinctive, most life-changing thing that Jesus asked his disciples to do.  It is also the most difficult one to describe.  It is a force that changes the course of many a life, and yet it is ephemeral.

Even our best poets struggle to describe it.

But, I am not looking for poetry… I am looking for “testimony.” What does Christian love look like?  Seen it recently?  Seen it ever?

Please share.  Be bold.  Take a shot at describing this virtue of virtues…

What is love?

I am eager to hear what you have to say.

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • MatthewNo Gravatar

    I’m thinking about what Jesus saying no one has greater love than laying down one’s life for one’s friends. There are the headline examples like this Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, and there are the everyday examples like the sacrifice a parent makes to give a child a better future, or even the random act of sacrificing your place in line, seat on the subway/bus. I don’t know if it fits, but I just finished re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird with my daughter. I can’t stop thinking about those lines at the end, “Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives.”

    • SBJNo Gravatar


      I really like your response. The “To Kill A Mockingbird” quotation is powerful… Are you saying (Is Harper Lee saying?) that you think love is an ability to see the OTHER as NEIGHBOR?


  • Lou

    I’m not real sure if I know what this means although ever since I heard it said it mulls around in my head quite often (and I might be remembering it wrong) – ” you can’t love someone more than the person you hate the most” – it reminds me of Christ’s quintessential words on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” – I’m real glad God loves us enough to send the very best…it’s good to remember that love and to show that love to those around us. I’m glad Christmas is coming because we need to be introduced to God’s love – in the flesh – again.…or rather we need to be reminded of God’s great love again and again – bring on Advent!

  • FrankNo Gravatar

    Love is simple — unconditional and conditional, true and false, real and a sham, part-time and full-time.

    1. It’s that unconditional love that a parent has for his/her child.

    2. It’s that unconditional love of that of child to a parent — at least we hope so.

    3. It’s a chemical reaction in the brain that triggers the need of being satisfied by a person, the sexual attraction to that person and remaining with that person. It’s the CONDITIONAL love between two people as long as that satisfaction is met. Visit (Helen Fisher Explains Why Casual Sex Doesn’t Exist, Big Think).

    4. Being this blog part of the church, the answer would be the love of God for us — as the father (God) loves his children (us) unconditionally when we make him happy, cry or angry. See number 1.

    5. In the case of loving others, my take would be on being satisfied by something that they can do for us. See number 3.
    Love for others (a stranger worse off) is never and will never be unconditional because of our greed, selfishness, needs to be satisfied, anger and everything else that makes us hunters (humans) especially in NYC. See number 1.

  • Chambers, Vidal, CunninghamNo Gravatar

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    “Love your enemies.”
    “Love God with your heart and soul and mind.”
    “You cannot love God and Mammon.”

    aah!!! and do not forget
    “Love as HE LOVEs us ?
    This is where the rubber meets the road.
    HIS inexhaustible, searching love that will not let us go , demands obedience, no doubt i fail along the way. Obedience that makes me look like a fool at times, excluded , humilating at times, ridiculous, often what makes no sense , and happens in the common places , of my ordinary life.
    Love is Obedience

  • Jacqueline PischettolaNo Gravatar

    I was in my English Comp class the other night and the Professor read for a beautiful letter that had been written by a soldier during World War I, it seems that when you are a soldier and away at war you are told to write a letter to your loved ones just in case something were to happen and you were to die. Then the letter would be delivered to them. The letter was simply, “Sarah’s Letter” he wasn’t a poet, he was just a man that was expressing his love for his wife, his 3 boys, and his country. In the letter he tells her that the best days of his life have been with her and that although he loved her ’til no end he also loved his country and he did not regret having to die for it. He ended the letter by saying that whenever she felt a warm breeze on her cheek in years to come that would be his breath. He would be with her until the day she joined him in Heaven. It reminded me of Jesus and his great sacrifice for us all. Even in the end he was asking God to forgive us. He truly loved us all. I think that is what we should all do love each other unconditionally just as he did.

  • Court

    What is love. I’m not a philosophical person at all. But I just had a root canal this morning (first ever) and didn’t know the endodontist. I’m a control freak and this stuff is very traumatizing to me. He was patient, kind, explained things, calmed me down, humored me. That was a huge act of love. He probably doesn’t even realize how much it meant to me but experiences like that change my life. We’re so busy in life but those little, seemingly inconsequential acts, are so powerful.

  • DawnNo Gravatar

    LOVE is endlessly EVOLving for me! How many iterations of what we deem to be “love” do we pass through in our lives, it must be endless! My beginnings of life found love in parents and family, then friends at school, then friends in new home, then love of work. And world events help grow the value of love of freedom, love of country, but always a love of God knowing that He loved first. I lost my Dad last year, which was and is a big loss for me, but the love I have for him carries on, and has grown even wider into richer love and compassion towards others. My frequent message I was blessed with last week when “visiting” my Dad in the cemetery was “Love like you have never loved before!”…I’m giving it my best try! :D) Love isn’t always easy, but it is everlastingly wonderful…and eternally EVOLving!

  • Tooska

    Love is pure,peaceful and kind, love is a child ,love is compassion without any judgment,.
    It is so powerful that I can not find the right word for it; it is like a silent look in the child’s eyes for your approval or love. I think as human ; I will never understand the dept of real love like CHRIST did for us.

  • MarNo Gravatar

    Just recently I was on a flight seated next to someone I care for deeply. He’d fallen asleep with his tray table down holding onto my left hand. With my right hand I very carefully put his tray table back up so he’d have more room. I did this especially carefully so as not to wake him and it must have taken a good two minutes of practiced stealthy movement. Having completed the mission successfully I suddenly realized…”oh gosh. That is Love.”

  • Laura FissingerNo Gravatar

    I think the love of Jesus Christ makes us see that parts of ourselves live in other individuals, whether we know them or not. Hence we feel driven to give to others, to embrace others, to listen to others, to share the best of what we are. I find that when I treat other individuals with awareness and caring, I get miracles back. When I share my joy and laughter, I get miracles back.
    The more I try to give God’s love (although I often fail, of course), the more God changes me to be more loving. Another miracle.

  • Laura FissingerNo Gravatar

    Nothing pulls us deeper into God than the daily effort to give love. Nothing changes me more. The more I change, the more I see how I am a part of each person, stranger or friend. This escape from the isolation of the self gives me relief and joy that’s hard to describe.

  • John

    Love is a freewill desire to be connected with another with no conditions.   

    God loves me, not because i have done something other than exist and not because he is required to but, because he wants to. 

    My sin is to have conditions on the connection with myself and others ( often including God).  My redemption is to remove those conditions which is very difficult. To love is VERY EASY. I, in my ignorance, make it complicated.