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From the Rev: Love is in the Air

Feb 16, 2014

Rapids Captain Drew Moor features in a fan-created soccergram.

With this past weekend being Valentine’s Day there are plenty of stories of love in the air. From the Colorado Rapids’ Drew Moor proposing to his girlfriend and Goalkeeping Coach Chris Sharpe getting married to the Major League Soccer #soccergrams that fans could get creative with – there is much ado about showing love to the people and things that mean the most to us. And, of course, living in a house with 5 women (my wife and 4 daughters) there is a lot of cards and hearts and pink and red.

In reflecting, upon this “season of love,” I was reminded of the Jesus’ interaction with Peter on the shore (John 21:15-17) where he asks Peter the question, Simon son of John, do you truly love me.?. In the passage, it is interesting to note the back and forth conversation of Jesus and Peter.

Jesus asks Peter Do you love me? He does so using the Greek word for love agape the first and second time he asks the question. To which Peter responds Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. However, John records Peter’s response with the Greek word phileo. Jesus’ third time of questioning Simon’s love, he uses phileo. To which Peter’s response was Lord, you know all things; you know that I phileo you. Scholars debate the meaning of this – what was John meaning with the different word usage? Well, there is some debate about what it means – but at a base level can see that Jesus is asking Peter (and asking us) – do we really love him – with all that we are, with all that we have? 

If you know anything of the Greek word uses for love – there were four: storge (used to describe a strong like for a thing – for example, I love Manchester United); eros (used to describe physical love or sexuality); phileo (used to describe a deep love of friendship); and agape (used to describe a selfless, divine or God-given love).
 
Jesus is calling us into a deeper love relationship. It is a love higher and greater than even our own understanding of love or friendship – it is a love that is selfless. It is a love that reflects more the character and nature of Jesus Christ – a sacrificial love, a grace-filled love. And we may (like Peter) struggle to comprehend it or to respond well to this higher love that Jesus is calling us to, but still he calls – to love him, to love others with God’s agape love.
May you realize that Jesus loves you with an agape love and may you, in turn, love others the same way. 

Blessings,

Rev. Brad Kenney

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