Pause for thought: The meaning of love
Love - a prominent theme in Scotland and Wales during the month of January. Robert Burns, the writer of love poetry is celebrated on the 25th January as too is St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of love. The Oxford English Dictionary defines love as “senses relating to affection and attachment”. While none of us can deny that we don’t buy into such celebrations of love, we as Christians also know the real meaning of love and have a responsibility to show and communicate that love. While Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians emphasises the importance of Christian love, no text does it quite so well as the author of the Fourth Gospel. The evangelist sets out the interconnectedness of love between the human and divine and the outworking of that. They note that God loves the world and believers (John 3:16; 14:23; 16:27); the Father loves the Son (John 3:35; 5:20; 10:17; 15:9), the Son loves believers (John 11: 3, 5; 13:1, 23, 34; 15:9, 12); believers love the Son and the Father and other believers/world (John 13:34; 15:12; 21:15-17). The evangelist emphasises Jesus’ command to love as an integral facet of their discipleship as believers. Jesus commissions his disciples to love, even if they cannot do anything else they must demonstrate their love of the Father, the Son, each other, and the world beyond. Jesus calls believers to go out and bear fruit (John 15:5, 16) this fruit that they bear will be gathered though the expression of their love.
Dr Elizabeth Corsar