Can’t you feel it? Love is in the air and you have officially entered into the great month of February 2021! I absolutely adore February because, as an elementary school teacher, it is a time not only to teach of the importance of being kind and loving towards one another, but also to educate and celebrate Black History Month. I recently came across one of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermons entitled, “Love in Action.” I thought the title of this to be particularly fitting as we approach Valentine’s Day and are in the midst of celebrating Black History, and if you haven’t read this phenomenal piece of literary art, I highly recommend it. One of the most striking quotes from this sermon would have to be in correlation to Dr. King’s affirmations of the type of love that Jesus expressed while hanging on the cross:
“Jesus eloquently affirmed from the cross a higher law. He knew that the old eye-for-eye philosophy would leave everyone blind. He did not seek to overcome evil with evil. He overcame evil with good. Although crucified by hate, he responded with aggressive love.”
Jesus’ love for all was indeed (and is still) aggressive, unimaginable, and magnificently radical. It is a type of love that lives on. Love is weaved into the very foundation of our faith; it is what our faith is built from and it never ceases (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Jesus’ love for all was indeed (and is still) aggressive, unimaginable, and magnificently radical.
During Jesus’ ministry on Earth, He taught us to love God and love one another (Matthew 22:36-40). Not only did He instruct us to live in this way, but He lived by example – displaying love in abundant action. This theme of love was perfectly shown and expressed in all areas of His life. And this love was shown, perhaps at its’ most raw and selflessly compassionate form, when He hung in excruciating pain on the cross. Jesus had His sight on the will of God, and He knew that love would be His most powerful weapon. He fought with love, for love – all to make a way for His bride, the Church, to be united with Him. He died for His Church, for you, for me – and I cannot think of a better love story than this to humbly reminisce on during this season.
As followers of Christ, the seemingly undeserving love and forgiveness that Jesus put into action on the cross is the very same love that we are called to exude in our everyday lives. So, how do we accurately do this? Especially when it can be so difficult to do so in this broken and inconsistent world. Thankfully, we can confidently address our questions and collect wholesome guidance from the living word of God. The Apostle Peter, with much wisdom, encourages followers of Christ, in 1 Peter 3:8, how to live a God honoring life by doing good and choosing what is right. The characteristics in this chapter help us understand how to be Christians. “Be like-minded, sympathetic, compassionate, and humble” – step in someone else’s shoes, genuinely listen to one another, carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and live a life of humility and grace. This is how we should live as the bride of Christ, brothers and sisters – uniquely and intentionally made in the image of God, beautifully detailed and diverse. Love has no limits, and it is not exclusive. “Love one another”; love all, without limitations, without qualifications, inclusively, and divinely unified under the blood of Jesus. Simply put: love like Jesus.
His law is love and His gospel is peace. As we put an additional emphasis on love this month, let us be reminded of where love originates. And let our actions deeply parallel with the horizontal and vertical beams of the cross.
“Every time I look at that cross, I am reminded of the greatness of God and the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. I am reminded of the beauty of sacrificial love and the majesty of unswerving devotion to truth.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.