"And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you."
(1 Thessalonians 3:12)
"What the world needs now is love sweet love - no, not just for some, but for everyone!" So goes the once-popular song. How true it is even today, though.
As I sit here in Starbucks, eating breakfast and reflecting on the impact love can have, my thoughts move from the BIG STUFF to the small stuff. Big: countries & peoples are at war all over the world. Hatred, fear & suspicion abound. We use weapons to "protect our interests." How sad. I wonder how much effort we (the collective humankind "we") put into really getting to know each other before we lash out in violence? Small: Last night we attended a high school soccer playoff game. Sitting in and among supporters of the other team, we heard lots of angry words - directed at the referees, mainly, but also at the opposing teams. Sitting next to us was a man and his young son, a parent from the other school. He didn't shout or scream. We got talking with him about his other 2 sons who played on the soccer team. While other spectators were screaming, we talked. It could have been easy to slip into "hate mode" and feel nothing but animosity towards the other team during a hard-fought and tension filled game. But in the end, I couldn't. I came to know one family a little bit, at least. Is this an example of "love"? Maybe. Maybe a kind of love that's more attainable than the warm-fuzzy, goose-bumps-all-over romanticized love we normally think about.
Paul is calling the church in Thessolonica to abound in love for each other AND FOR ALL. Imagine how much would change in this world if we, as Christians, made it our policy to really love those within our own church. And then everyone else, too?! How would it change our Sunday mornings? Or the way we drive to work? How we view the poor in our midst? How we watch sporting events? How we relate to our neighbors? How we react to the nightly news?
"What the world needs now is love sweet love - no, not just for some, but for everyone!"