Because He First Loved Us

A hummingbird flew into our window yesterday. We’ve got two new feeders up and the birds are very much attracted. One got a little off course and bumped into one of our big windows in our den and was stunned for a while. Fortunately Mary Ward beat the cat to the little body lying there and cared for it until it regained its senses and was able to fly away. I didn’t witness the event but got to see lots of photographs. What amazing little animals they are! It’s pretty much impossible to look at a little creature like that and not be moved to appreciate the creator. Just watching them fly around is impressive enough. But to examine them a few inches away reveals even more wonders.

Spring brings with it many reminders of the great Creator God. Sunsets now occur at a time when we can appreciate them. The maple tree in my back yard went from buds to nearly full foliage in just four days. Azaleas are pretty boring-looking most of the year but when they pop out in the spring it’s pretty amazing. The lizards are darting through the ivy. On and on, creation reveals the creator. We see those wonders and can’t help but believe that something far greater than us began all these things and keeps on creating.

The First Letter of John talks a lot about love. 1 John 4.19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Think about what that really means.

People fall in love. Spring often reminds us of that phenomenon. Just the expression “falling in love” points to something above and beyond. We don’t really set out to fall in love; it just happens. We get attracted and then can’t really see ourselves not being with the one we are attracted to. There is something deep inside us that gets put into motion, an innate desire. So where does that innate desire come from? God has put it here, in part we may conclude, to keep the human race going. We fall in love so as to procreate. But it goes further than that. We fall in love even after or beyond the possibilities of procreation. It seems God intends this gift simply for our mutual joy. Something in our wiring wakes up and we are bound to love another. We don’t cause that. It is there without our making it so.

 

People also do loving acts outside of those attractions. Being prone to cynicism I’m not all that surprised when people are hateful and petty. But regularly I am truly amazed at how loving and kind people can be. People who lie and cheat are  also gentle and caring. There seems to be something so very good way down inside us that just pops out through the layers of sin and selfishness. All the character defects and yucky things about humans don’t defeat the goodness that dwells in our core.

So where do you suppose such love originates? The First Letter of John reminds us that it all comes from God. We love because God first loved us.  We fall in love with others because God has love in his nature and has imbued creation with that love. We act lovingly toward others because we just can’t help ourselves. The goodness deep inside us is there because God put it there. Every time anyone falls in love or acts lovingly toward another, that is pretty impressive evidence that the love of God is being born anew in this world.

Creation reveals the Great Creator. Love reveals the Great Lover. None of it is here of its own volition. It is all here  because God came before us and puts it here. We can no more summon love from ourselves than we can summon the sun to rise and set. But we can enjoy it, we can appreciate it, we can live into it. Were it not for this gift of love, it’s hard to imagine humanity still being around. Love continues to abide because God continues to issue it forth from his loving nature.

Love is evidence of the loving God who made all that is, who forgives us time and time again, who inspires us with hope. Love never ends as St. Paul reminds us. It never ends because it is from God. Look around. There is remarkable evidence of God’s love all about.

 

Yours faithfully,

Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.