Recorded in Matthew 22: 37-39, Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
As God the Son, Jesus did not speak of a Lord that was unapproachable or removed, but one whose love is all-encompassing and vital. C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, reminds us that although “our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.” God loves us even when we don’t love ourselves.
Barton Goldsmith, in the Sunday, April 28, 2019, Mason City Globe-Gazette stated that “when we think we are expressing our love for our mate, in truth we are also building our capacity for that love, and actually making it grow.” We are made to develop and increase our ability to love over time. Our Lord is not distant, but ever-present in our lives. He is a Father full of grace, love, and mercy for us, his children.
What does this have to do with Easter? Everything – for “through Jesus’ death on the cross, the consequences for our sin are covered. God’s love changes sin. And through Jesus’ death on the cross, we get what we don’t truly deserve. When we experience and finally know God’s unrelenting, uncalculating, unconditional love, for all we have done and what we have left undone, then we experience Easter.” (Pr. Ruth Ann Loughry)
Lord, as we progress through our lives, constantly striving to please you and love more, let us feel your strength to love by reaching out to others. Help us grow in our ability to love those different from us as ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.