God is love

God is love  (Easter 5 John 15:1-8, 1 John 4:7-21)

All people who use language
are second-hand word-mongers:
we mangle words or varnish
by buying into meanings
to suit rival agendas.
We fumble in our juggling,
and truth becomes entangled
with hurts to which we’re subject,
and what one hears, another
would never have imagined.

So “God is love” gets twisted
for some who hear “Our Father”.
They might have had a parent,
unreasonably controlling,
whose harshness warps the nature
of their resistant children. 
Then “God” and “love” seem hollow,
and protest shapes a cynic
whose love is sparse and godless.

Yet “God is love” is speaking
of wisdom sourced in wonder
at what we see in Jesus –
a God more than Creator,
a wise and gracious parent:
compassionate and caring
for all that is becoming,
forgiving finite creatures 
their limited awareness,
their fear for their survival
that warps their best intentions.

When we abide in Jesus,
it helps refine our loving.
Our “me-first” competition
for limited resources
transforms into the service
we base on his example.
We give from our abundance,
so grateful for receiving,
and sometimes try to offer
self-sacrificial caring
not just to those we value,
but enemies and strangers.

When Jesus speaks of pruning,
it’s not an angry stripping,
but shaping for our fruiting
with stronger upright branches
that show the vine’s true nature.
What falls away enhances 
resilience and balance.
Since God is love, and Jesus
embodies what such love is,
when they abide within us 
our love will bear their image.

One thought on “God is love

  1. A beautiful re-telling of a passage that is so often for me a tangled vine. When the gospel of John tells a story, I follow, but in passages like this, I am a small child inattentive.


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