The epistle lesson for the Fifth Sunday of Easter is 1 John 4:7-21. Portions from this passage include the following:
"Dear friends, let's love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God." (7)
"If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us." (12)
"We love because God first loved us." (19)
The writer makes a bold assertion: Love comes from God. We experience love in many different relationships and find it different in quantitative and qualitative ways. There are countless teachers and methods who claim to help us to learn to love.
I have been reflecting on my pastoral ministry and shared with colleagues this week about my excitement of being appointed as a pastor to a church, and realizing that the fundamental task was to love them. I failed in many ways. But I also experienced being love far beyond what I deserved. It's been 20 years since I was appointed to a church and I am still amazed at the opportunity to love and be loved. Because I am still part of those Christian communities.
I learned to love because I was loved by God, still am, and that love flows from my life, despite my failures. Truly amazing.