The Most Beautiful Wuv Letter
“…And wuv, twue wuv, will fowwow you foweva…So tweasure your wuv…”
(The Impressive Clergyman from The Princess Bride)
It’s February. Valentines. So, it must be time to talk about love. Time to re-watch The Princess Bride (the definitive movie on “swoon worthy” love). I confess, I’m not really that person who gets all mushy and squishy with hearts and flowers dancing through her head. I think, sometimes, I might want to be that mushy, squishy, girl – but then I snap out of it. Love, though – real love, true love – that is something for which I desperately long. I desire it for myself and for all of you. I pray, that at some point in our lives, we ALL know- beyond a shadow of any doubt – that we are each deeply, truly, unconditionally loved and are able to give that same love in return.
Scripture is, undoubtedly, the most beautiful love letter ever written. Sometimes the words are lyrical and lovely. Sometimes they are gritty and bittersweet. I was searching for just the right “feel good” bible verse on love for this article. I am such a fan of the book, Song of Songs, from the bible. Jesus as the Bridegroom, we (The Church) are the bride. “My beloved spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.” (Song of Songs 2:10) There are so many beautiful scriptures that speak of Jesus’ love: “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
And of course we can’t forget John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son…” We find all sorts of “pretty verses” about God’s love, but then there are other verses, the gritty, too honest for comfort verses. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44). “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:21) “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
WHAT???? THAT’S LOVE?!?!?! Love my enemies? Do things that make me uncomfortable? Sacrifice? Lay down my life? Put God’s heart and will above my own? Can’t I just make Jesus a very special mix tape of my favorite worship songs and be done with it? Wouldn’t that be easier? Wouldn’t that be sweet? I could knock that out in an afternoon and any time Jesus wanted to be reminded of the depth of my affections, He could just play it over and over again.
I wonder sometimes, when we wrestle with the beauty of God, the power of God’s love for us, if our response is more like fleeting infatuation rather than true love. God says, “…if you love me, keep my commandments,” do what Jesus taught you do, by word and by example.” What does our love for God look like? Are we willing to take a moment, right now, and in the safety and privacy of our own hearts, be honest about the ways we show we love God in return? Does it look like love, as scripture declares? Are we “in love” with God or is it just a serious case of “like you a lot but I’m not ready to commit”?
God continues to invite us: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) God’s heart for our hearts. God’s love breathing life and love into us. Being seen, being known, becoming who we were created to be. Crafted in God’s holy image, filled by God’s Holy Spirit, redeemed by Jesus’ unwavering, unrelenting, unconditional love – that’s who we are. That is how deeply, how passionately, we are loved. Are we up to the task of loving God, ourselves, and others in the same manner?
And so, I shall end this article as I began, referencing The Princess Bride…
Love, true love, will follow you forever. “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
Peace and Grace,