Love has its reasons, they say.
Love has its purposes too. It's not out there "just because," only to make us feel good, or even, as it does sometimes, to drive us crazy.
Love intends a result; love has an end in mind. When we say "God is love," we need to remember that.next >
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."
John 3:16next >
The Fulani people of west and central Africa have two different words for "we." One is called the exclusive "we," and the other the inclusive "we." A football captain uses the exclusive version when speaking to the other captain after a coin toss: "We will receive the kick-off." A mother speaking to her children uses the inclusive version: "We are having meatloaf for dinner."
Within the Fulani church, believers are intentional about their use of the inclusive "we," claiming God’s love not only for themselves but for all of God’s people.
Here’s the gospel in a nutshell: God loves us. All of us. The whole world. No exceptions. God doesn’t just love the church, the insiders, the "good people," the saved. God’s love is inclusive. It is for all of us.
This is good news.
Peter Hansonnext >
God, you love the world so much. Thanks for including me in that love, for including me in your "we." Expand my thinking to include others — all people, the whole world — in your gracious love. Amen.next >
Jesus loves you;
This you know,
For the Bible tells you so.
Little ones - like you -
To God belong.
You are weak;
But God's love is strong.
Peter Hanson has been a youth minister in Minnesota, a street chaplain in Berkeley and San Francisco, a parish pastor in Vermont, and most recently a missionary in Dakar, Senegal. He now serves as interim associate pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Peter lives in St. Paul with his wife, Sarah, and their two sons, Elijah and Simon.
The Love of God