By Kevin Payne, Palmerdale United Methodist Church
William Shakespeare penned the line, “Love is a many splendored thing.” And, to be sure, it is. Love is constantly transforming, moving, and changing. Love itself evolves, and it changes and evolves us.
Take marriage, for instance: the love that is shared in the first year is not exactly the same as what is shared by the 50th. It’s not less of love, but it is different. The trick to marriage is not falling in love, but staying in love. Love changes, we change, and it takes dedicated work and commitment to stick it out. With that, then love will do the rest and make it last.
But love is not only for marriage and romance. The Holy Scriptures speaks throughout about love: love for God, love for neighbor, love for self, love for others, and so forth. In fact, scripture teaches us that the very nature of God, the very essence of God, is in fact love.
The love that scripture points us to is to easily summarized in what is known as the “Great Commandment” given by Jesus the Christ as recorded in Matthew 22:36-40 : ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
We have witnessed such tragedy, such senseless violence especially over the past few years, with the most recent example being the shooting in Orlando, FL. We are left reeling, and with many well-intentioned people spouting opinions and “facts” from Facebook to coffee shops. The fact that this occurred at a homosexual nightclub is not lost on some, those who must possess a much greater understanding of the mind of the Almighty that I do, for they seem to know that this was by some divine will.
I won’t write what I call that, but one can find an example of it walking through a cow pasture – but I will write that the God I serve and know is a God whose very nature is love – so I don’t think my God would ordain such an action.
There are those who see this as a political stage upon which to turn this into yet another chapter of the long-debated gun control saga. Surely stricter laws would prevent such evil from ever occurring.
But my thought to this is we have forgotten, or do not know, that we are made in the image of a God whose very nature is love. Maybe we’ve made love an emotion and not a way of living, as scripture teaches. What would not be solved if we as a people … love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
We need to remember: we have always been loved, we are surrounded by love, and we can be loving. To love does not mean we have to agree: it just requires us not to be jerks. Come on – we can do this, change the world, and maybe be changed, ourselves.
 1 John 4:8