In the words of Haddaway, “What is love? … So what is right and what is wrong?” For us, as God’s people, as followers of Jesus, it is one of the central themes in our scriptures and in our ethics. It defines our relationship with God, and dictates how we should treat others. But as Haddaway sings, we’re still not given much of a clue as to what love really is. No matter how much we try to classify it, or define it, there’s always exceptions, and new ways of expressing it.

Love languages

Gary Chapman defined five love languages:

•     Words of Affirmation

•     Acts of Service

•     Receiving Gifts

•     Quality Time

•     Physical Touch

While Chapman is writing about the love between two people, and particular how a person knows that they are loved by another. I can’t help but think that there’s application well beyond that scenario alone.

As Christians, our worship, our time together, reflects many of those same themes. Our community is a sign of love that reflects God’s Word, Service, Gifts, Prayer, and Communion. We are called to express that love with everyone we meet — those outside the community and those inside.

The limits of love

We confess belief in a God whose love knows no bounds. But what does that mean for us? Is boundless love simply accepting the actions of others without demands being placed upon them?

Jesus, once talking to a rich man who had followed all of God’s laws since his youth said:

Mark 10:21 NRSVue

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

We hear the man was shocked and grieved as he had much to sell. A teaching like this would be seen as hurtful. The man had done so much good — couldn’t Jesus let his possessions slide a little bit? It appears not.

Love sometimes places boundaries around us. Sometimes it calls us to set boundaries around others. While God’s love knows no bounds, how we express our love may look like more rules and more limitations than we would want.

As we grow as community, may we treasure each other, and above all treasure the love that God has given us.