Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B

Inspired by 1 John 4:7-21

“In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God love us so much, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11 (NRSV)

Love is risky. Love is difficult. Love is painful. Yet love has the potential to be the most powerful, transformative, and rewarding force on the planet.

Because of the risks involved, we often try to limit our love to those who are most ‘deserving’ of it, or who are at the lowest risk of causing us pain. But that is not how God wants us to love, and it’s not how he’s modeled love for us.

We were sinners against God, deserving of death. Yet the first action of our salvation was God’s love for us. He saw our sin, and he loved us enough to send his Son. We rejected and murdered his Son, and he loved us enough to raise his Son in such a way as to conquer death for all of us. We demonstrated with our actions that we did not love God, and that we were at very high risk of causing him pain, but God loved us anyway, and that love is powerful enough to transform us into beings worthy of his love. All because he loved us first.

Don’t limit your love; by doing so you limit love’s transformative powers. People who are loved find it easier to be lovable; they in turn are able to love others, who then find it easier to be lovable, and the world can turn around from its selfish, sinful ways. Let the unconditional love of God transform your life to one in which you will dare to love others, even if they seem undeserving of your love. After all, if God had waited to love us until we were deserving of it, we’d still be waiting now.

Let us pray. God of love, you loved us first, even though we were guilty of sin and undeserving of your love. Let your grace transform our lives, that we may be your agents of loving and positive change in the world. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.