Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 28th April 2024: God is love

1 John 4 Jesus Christ God of love St John of the cross Love one another Love

Reading : Verses from 1 John, Chapter 4


Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters, also.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


I have taken hundreds of funerals over forty years, and often used John's words from his epistle (letter) at the service. Many funerals were of people I didn't know. In such cases I became good at listening hard to the family to pick up clues as to what the person was like. I often closed my meeting by asking if they could sum up the person in just five or six words, which frequently brought a quick response, like "He was kind!" or "He would help everyone!" Just occasionally though, there would be a funeral of someone that no-one seemed to know, or who were so elderly that "out of sight, out of mind" sadly everyone had forgotten them. At such times I would always use part of John's epistle at the funeral, concluding that as God 'is love' He would surely love this poor soul that had just died.

Today's passage tells us what God is and what He is not. Our God chooses to be known not as a God of power, or God of order, or God of goodness but as a God of love. We often want God to control the natural world despite the mess we have made of it; or to cure sickness and stop pandemics; or to stop wars and violence. But God has chosen to be defined as 'God who is love'. We are not puppets and God has given us free will. We humans cause many of the world's problems and must attempt to put them right, yet seeing our problems and out of his great love for us, God sent His Son to rescue us from our sin. We cannot see God but we can discover what He is like when we look at Jesus.

John said 'God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God'. I would also remind us all of a comment by another John (the 16th century Spanish mystic and priest, Saint John of the Cross) who said "In the evening of life we will be examined in love."


Heavenly Father,
God of love,
You call us to Yourself,
and You know our every weakness.
Your Son taught us that we are Your children,
and that You long for us to turn to You.
May we answer this call today
and turn away from all that displeases You.
Help us to offer unconditional love to all
and play our small part
in putting wrongs to right in our world.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to play this country and western style Christian song:

Or find out a little more Saint John of the Cross:

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