Monday, January 29, 2007

love wins

There is a bumper sticker I've seen a good number of times on cars, on our travels around here. It simply says, "love wins". I'm not much into bumper stickers. I remember putting one on when I was a young Christian which said something like: "Jesus is coming again". I really don't normally care for signs or bumper stickers. Which either can't say enough, or say too much (and in that, don't say enough either).

At first when I saw this sticker, I was not much impressed. I'd notice that on a number of vehicles, the occupants were possibly Christian as there might be a fish- Jesus decal accompanying it, or an area Christian college decal. Although I'm not interested in putting any sticker on our cars, I do have some second thoughts about this sticker.

I think the saying, "Love wins", has something important to say to the world, and to each of us, if understood aright. God has put something into each of us, as humans, through creation, which recognizes at gut level, and beyond, that much of what is happening in the world is not right and is not of love. Even the very notion of love itself, comes from God. So we humans have this notion by which we measure ourselves and others, built in us.

But for us in Jesus, love "is a many splendored thing". Love means so much more than meets the eye in creation alone, in the new creation in Jesus, coming in the kingdom of God. And this does have ramifications for all of life in this world. But we must begin where we live.

To begin to understand the love that wins we must look to the Story of God we find in Scripture. This is a love which we can find in this story. And it's a love that is alive with many expressions from the heart of God. And we find humans either responding to this love, or spurning it. But there is this tension that exists, because God's love is present. And won't let go.

We know the story. God creates. And creates us, humankind. We fail God. God pursues us. And does so by becoming human himself. This is an expression of God's love for the world of humankind. And in this expression of love, he dies.

But we know that is not the end of the story. There is resurrection. New creation. God's love wins. And in the end we see that God's love wins over everything else. Nothing else can stand before the powerful, penetrating, world-changing move of the love of God in Jesus.

"Love wins" to us humans in the here and now can be a rather glib phrase. It can mean pretty much whatever a person wants it to mean.

But I challenge myself, and any reader: Let's pray and think on what this "love" really is, that in the end wins. When we read Scripture we need to ask ourselves how we can better understand this love, and live in it, and practice it, in our lives.

In a sense, all of Scripture is the give and take of God's love being expressed to humanity, and humanity's response, or lack thereof, to it. So we need to be in Scripture. And think about it, asking God to show us the way, in Jesus.

One last thing. Love is a communal word. It must begin at home. And it expresses itself in community. The community of Jesus especially is to be a light of this reality to the world. So to better understand and live in this love that wins, we need each other.

What other thoughts would you like to add? We need your input. This is only a little start in working on this subject.


julie said...

I have a 'Love Wins' bumper sticker.

I brought it home at the conclusion of a teaching series at church, about 2 years ago. I put it on the wall of our garage as a reminder of all the ways love wins. I think the series concluded on Easter a few years ago.

This post took me back to that time.

Maybe I should have displayed it on the car for the world to consider, but I opted to use it as a personal reminder.

Vehicles deteriorate. Love wins.

Anonymous said...

A friend passed along something she heard at a conference about God's love, how it wins. Basically, when the experiences of our lives might that God does not love us -- basically when things are just going wrong all the time -- we can trust God's love because He already did the most loving thing he could do for us: dying on the cross.

Good to see this from different angles, though, Ted. Depending on the beholder of the sticker, not only might "love" mean something different, but so might "wins."

Ted Gossard said...

Julie, That's a good reminder for us in Jesus, who know that God's love, in the end, triumphs over everything. And that we need to be a part of that special love of God in Jesus, now. Thanks for sharing that!

Ted Gossard said...

Charity, True. In each of our stories, our experience of it is unique. And our participation in it, surely. Thanks!

Matt said... lol

Ted M. Gossard said...

Wow. The Teddy Bear looks so nice, but with that slogan?!?!