“Everything I know about love I’ve learned from country music,” says Uncle Steve, with a laugh. It’s a well-worn joke, but I think it’s true: so much of what we know (or think we know) about love comes from popular culture.

Pause today and listen to the music. Ask yourself, in the words sung by so many different bands and musical artists, “What is love?”

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We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. We have known and have believed the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.

1 John 4:14-16

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“God is love.” If I were to compile a “greatest hits” list of verses in the Bible, this would be one of them. This verse helped me to hold onto my faith, even when I wasn’t sure whether I believed everything that my Christian upbringing taught me. In the midst of doubt, the words “God is love” always made sense.

Sometimes I wonder if this verse resonates so much simply because “love” is just as difficult to define as “God” is. I think of the opening lines of “Elephant Love Medley” from the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge, in which actor Ewan MacGregor sings a string of lyrics from different songs: “Love is a many splendored thing / Love lifts us up where we belong / All you need is love!”

Love, like God, can be hard to pin down. Nevertheless we just keep singing — about God and love — because these are the most important things in our lives. God is a many splendored thing; God lifts us up where we belong; all we need is God.

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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Holy God, you are beyond human description. Help me to feel your constant presence, even when my faith fails and words fall short. Amen.

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“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

from the “Finale” of Les Misérables (1980)

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

Heidi Thorsen Oxford is a recent graduate of Union Theological Seminary (MDiv, ’17), and is a postulant for ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. She is currently completing a chaplain residency at Yale New Haven Hospital. Heidi lives with her husband, Will Oxford, and their two beautiful cats.

Making Space: Day by Day

Carter Harrell

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