1. God is Love

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

Based on the inspiring work done by our ONCET committee over the past two years, South Church has embraced a new vision for our future:

“To boldly embody God’s love and compassion.”

A quick trip to the dictionary tells us that to “embody” something is to give it a tangible form, a visible expression of something that is often invisible or spiritual.

Therefore, the challenge in front of all of us at South Church, both individually and collectively, is how we might create and communicate to the world expressions of God’s love.

So how do we do that? What should be our focus of embodying God’s love and compassion?

We hear in the teachings of Jesus the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This suggests that we can embody God’s love by serving the needs of our neighbors.

We at Service Central want to help facilitate the creation of ways that we can help serve the needs of our neighbors, which we define as our fellow human beings.

In order to do that, let’s take a closer look at God’s love.

God Is a Force — of Love

I can remember attending a church youth group event growing up that changed my perception of God. As a young child, I learned of God as our “father” in heaven, which made me think of God as a rational, logical-thinking human, who happened to be invisible to me.

The youth group leader took a different approach, defining God as a “force” in the natural world, not unlike the wind or electricity. We cannot see the force but the force can have an important impact on the physical world we live in.

When I now read in I John that God is love, I am able to think of God as the force of love in the world. And if we live in that force, we are living according to God’s plan when God made the world.

As a force in the world, God’s love is:

Unconditional – It is not doled out by a rational-thinking human based on our behavior, but an always-available force for anyone at any time.

Limitless – Because it is not a physical property, there can be no limit to how much love there is in us and in the world. We will never experience shortages of love.

Energizing – When we feel love in our lives, we feel an energy and a vitality that accompanies it. Love can inspire us and motivate us to actions and behaviors that we may not have considered possible.

TransformativeLove can change lives. A look at the ministry of Jesus shows so many lives that were positively transformed based on the God’s love embodied in Jesus.

God’s love is powerful. It can change the world when we find ways to embody that love and serve the world. Let’s get working on our new South Church vision.

Where can God’s love make a difference in our community and our world?

Doug Bate
Service Central