Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
Why do Christians love torture?

Fifth Sunday after Easter

Acts 8.26-40
Psalm 22.25-31
1 John 4.7-21
John 15.1-8

Love is (at least) a two player activity.

Of course, it does not necessarily require two humans, but the action of Love does require a Lover and a ....Lovee.  One does not just Love alone in a vacuum.  There is always a person, place, or thing that is Loved.

In the lectionary selections this week we have one narrative example of Love in action and a couple of expositions on how and why we should Love.

In Psalm 22 we see this played out quite well.  The Psalms are often songs of Love and devotion to God, and it is no different here.  The psalmist speaks about how the world is a better and safer and more hopeful place because he Loves the Lord (as evidenced by his respect and praise).

In Acts, we see the narrative example.  Now there are lots of things going on in this passage.  An angel talks to Philip several times...an Ethiopian had come from Egypt to worship in Jerusalem....Philip engages in international relations and engages the Ethopian....they read some of the Hebrew prophet Isaiah together...Philip tells his new friend about Jesus...the Ethiopian ends up almost demanding to be baptized....and Philip ends up being teleported elsewhere immediatly after the baptism takes place.  Now all of this is fascinating and really interesting, but the engine that pushes the whole story forward is the fact that Philip was in relationship...he Loved this Ethiopian man by engaging with him.  If he had not been willing to talk with him and share some of his story with this man, the Ethopian would not have understood Isaiah and would not have been baptized.  Love is a two player activity.

In 1 John we see a fairly detailed, quite rational argument for why followers of Jesus should Love one another.  It is almost as if we need to put Heather at the flip chart with a marker to diagram this whole thing out--love each other because God loved us...if you love you are from God...if you are not you do not...because God loved us we should love one another....etc.  Even though it is a little complicated and a bit circular in its logic, this passage points to a recurring theme--an individual cannot Love alone.  Love is a two player activity.

And then in the gospel of John Jesus really brings the message home with the description of how the Loving relationship works and what it looks like through the metaphor of a vine and it's branches.  Jesus (in this instance also through the pen of John) make a quite rational argument.  Since John was the latest gospel it seems we are seeing a little bit of the influence of Greek philosophy / thought even in this illustration.  Thinking of Love in this way again shows that there is no way to Love on one's own...one is always connected to someone or something else in the process of Loving.  And without someone or something else, one cannot Love.

We come to understand Love by being in relationship with others.

Who / what has most taught you how to Love?
What relationship(s) are the ones that keep you most alive / sustained?
How can you reach out in Love to help someone else learn more about Love?



"All You Need Is Love"
Beatles

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say, but you can learn
How to play the game -
It's easy.
Nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do, but you can learn
How to be you in time -
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where
You're meant to be -
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
All you need is love. (All together now).
All you need is love. (Everybody).
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
Love is all you need.
Love is all you need...

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