Father, your mission flows from your love. The mission of your people flows from our love for you and for all that you love. World evangelization is the outflow of your love to us and through us. We affirm the primacy of your grace and we then respond to that grace by faith, demonstrated through the obedience of love. We love because you first loved us and sent your Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Amen.
Love for God and love for our neighbour constitute the first and greatest commandments on which hang all the law and the prophets. Love is the fulfilling of the law, and the first named fruit of the Spirit. Love is the evidence that we are born again; the assurance that we know God; and the proof that God dwells within us. Love is the new commandment of Christ, who told his disciples that only as they obeyed this commandment would their mission be visible and believable. Christian love for one another is how the unseen God, who made himself visible through his incarnate Son, goes on making himself visible to the world.
Such love is a gift and a command, not weak or sentimental. The love of God is covenantally faithful, committed, self-giving, sacrificial, strong, and holy. Since God is love, love permeates God’s whole being and all his actions, his justice as well as his compassion. Such love means to be like Christ himself: robust in endurance, yet gentle in humility; tough in resisting evil, yet tender in compassion for the suffering; courageous in suffering and faithful even unto death. God’s love extends over all his creation. We are commanded to love in ways that reflect the love of God with obedience in all those same dimensions. That is what it means to walk in the way of the Lord. Such love was modelled by Christ on earth and is measured by the risen Christ in glory.
We affirm that such comprehensive biblical love should be the defining identity and hallmark of disciples of Jesus. In response to the prayer and command of Jesus, we long that it should be so for us. Sadly we confess that too often it is not. So we re-commit ourselves afresh to make every effort to live, think, speak and behave in ways that express what it means to walk in love—love for you, love for one another, and love for the world. Amen.
Call upon God for such an outpouring of his Spirit that we, his people, will be assured of his love through his Word.