While the lyrics to the Beatles song are a bit trite (although the music is really good), the reality is that for the Christian life, love is at the center. At the New Room Conference this past week, there were talks from Drs. Joe Dongell and Phil Meadows that reminded us of this fact.
To be sure, Jesus said that love was the basis of the entire covenant with God, with the whole of the law and prophets hinging on loving God and neighbor, but Dongell reminded us that it is the core of Wesleyanism as well. For the past four or five years he has read through all of Wesley’s works and made his own index in order to reference all the instances where John Wesley talks of love. What he found was amazing. Wesley believed that the core of the Christian experience is love, and that a converted person, and a Methodist in particular, will exhibit holy love in his or her life because of that fact.
Phil Meadows took the concept further and reminded us that it is not just love, but a zealous love that is all-consuming, that is the core of our being if we are Christians. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives so transforms us and imparts to us the love of God and others that this holy, zealous love burns through us and our character into the world around us.
While these may be simple concepts, sometimes they are too often forgotten. We tend to focus on sins and administration more than we focus on love. We plan worship services, board meetings, job requirements, school plays, bus schedules, laundry, dinner, etc. and forget that the basis of our very lives when we are Christians is a holy love for God and everyone else.
The passionate love of a converted person is the kind of godly love that characterizes who we are in Christ. This is the kind of love that we need to make a point to cultivate, experience, and share on a daily basis. The only way we can share it with others is if we ourselves have it; and the only way to have it is to spend serious time with the One who loves us in this way.
We sang a song yesterday in our service, Take Time to Be Holy. I would add, Take Time to Be Loved. Because that is the essence of Christianity: we are loved by God so we can love God and others. All you need is love!