Alastair McCollum
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"All you need is love" sang the Beatles. They also sang, however, "I am the walrus," so I'd be wary of taking my philosophy from pop groups.  

But they were on to something. Love. Love is the root and the heart of our Christian Faith.  Love is key to the universe, the key to living - the key to who God is. There aren't many statements about God that are anything but analagous - God is like a rock, God is like a fortress, God is like a Father, or a Mother, or a midwife, or a ewe.  But the first letter of St John the Epistle writer says 'God is love'.  Not that God is loving, or like a loving person, but that very essence and ground of the Divine being is love.  

And the testimony of the rest of the Christian Scripture is that this love is eternal, unending, unlimited.  This love which is the centre of the being of God is not a love which is based on whether creation deserves it or not, it is not a love which depends on being loved in return. It is not a love which demands, but a love which gives.  It is this love - which we sum up in the theology of "grace" - which encourages us to love all people, and not to expect anything in return.  A love which refuses to judge, which refuses to exclude, which refuses to make conditions, or to withdraw from those who might be considered unworthy or undeserving, 

In this scheme of love all are loved.  No exceptions. 

This love comes to us in the form of Jesus Christ - giving of his own self to demonstrate the love of God for all people, dying to show the cost of true love, and being raised to life again to demonstrate the power of love even over death. This is true love. This is the love of God. 

 

1 Corinthians 13


If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.