February is almost upon us, and so I have been briefing my postman on where and how to store the vast amount of post I shall be getting on the 14th – Valentine’s Day – without causing a fire hazard down at the depot. A dangerous amount of love! How exciting!
Obviously, I’m joking – there’s only one card I am expecting this year and only one I want. But I wonder, what do we think about love? What might a dangerous amount of love look like?
Perhaps for some of us, there will be a pink and red piece of folded paper waiting for us at the breakfast table or posted through our letterbox on Valentine’s Day as a token of someone’s love for us. It might even be that this is the only time of year we tell our partner we love them, so that card has got to stand for quite a lot!
For some of us, we receive love from our families and our friends, through gestures, through conversations, through gifts, through hugs and cuddles – the love we receive and the love we give warms and sustains us.
Romantic love and love for friends and family are strong, beautiful, wonderful things, but rarely do they become “dangerous”.
Talking to the young people at REV + the other night, we asked the question –“Does God love everyone?” I must admit, I had expected the answers to go along the lines of, “no, not the people who are really evil” and then a list of potential “evil” people ranging from certain foreign heads of state to Hitler, via various types of unattractive criminal. The answers I got were entirely different – and very clear! (Never, ever underestimate 12 year olds!).
This is what they said: –
Yes. God has to love everyone. It’s what God is.
Yes, because there has to be someone or something that loves everyone, because everyone needs love and humans can’t always love other humans.
Yes, that’s what God exists for.
Yes, love changes things.
Yes, even when God doesn’t like what they do very much – God loves us like
your mum or dad would.
Now, that kind of radical love is “dangerous” and exciting. It can’t be contained in a flimsy card with a slightly twee message. It can’t be lost in arguments or dwindle with separation. It comes with no caveats, no conditions to fulfil, but it is powerful, countercultural and can turn things upside down. We cannot make God love us any more. We cannot make God love us any less. Whoever we are and whatever we have done, God comes down to show us Love in Jesus – urging us to love one another, showing us how it’s done, bringing us so close to God’s love that it is as though our hearts can beat along with God’s. Love, in a dangerous, exciting and radical way, that ends with even death being unable to prevent the life love brings to flourish.
Dangerous amounts of love? I’ll have some of that!