by dr. Greg davis, senior pastor
For many of us, the first scripture we took to heart as children was “God is love.” Really, when we could hardly read a sentence or spell a word, we knew that scripture. The church teaches children about the power of God’s love. What is the first hymn most children remember singing together? It is Jesus Loves Me. That’s the good news of our faith.
A pastor shared the story of a funeral he conducted for a beautiful young woman. She had gotten ill at college and was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She bravely battle her disease for two years. Much of that time was spent in the hospital. Toward the end, she couldn’t sleep much. Her parents were astonished to hear her singing from time to time in the wee hours of the night.
Although her body was wracked with pain, the words she sang softly resonated with peace and confidence:
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.
What better thing to remember at a time like that – that God is with us, that God loves us, that God is our strength and will see us through all life throws at us. This is the message we in the church can help people to hear. Oh does the world need to hear God’s reassuring message of love.
God loves us, but there is an expectation, namely that God wants us to love others. He wants us to live as loving people. The Church’s role is teaching us (to teach others) how God loves us and how God wants us to be loving people. God speaks a word of love and the Church teaches us to write that message on our hearts.
So let’s make 2016 the Year of Love at BUMC. Will you join me in loving God, loving our neighbors, and loving ourselves in godly ways in the new year? I challenge you to become a more loving person in 2016…and help our church become a more loving venue for a lost and hurting world.