Our Theme: Where Love Comes to Life
In 1984, popular US singer Tina Turner sang: What’s love got to do with it? It ain’t nothin’ but a second hand emotion.
That’s a sad, jaded, but all too common view. It’s a gloomy way we have fallen into. As Christians, however, we know that love has got everything to do with it! The living love we celebrate is God’s love, always fresh and ever new, God’s very own life, flowing straight from his hand into our hearts.
The tagline for the Lutheran Church of Australia, Where Love Comes to Life, will be in focus again in 2015. Early in the year, the Church will release resources to help congregations re-visit one of the most basic statements of Christian theology: God is love. As we gather, not least in Synod, we’ll dig deep into what love coming to life looks like. Through Bible study, discussion and life application, we’ll be re-introduced to who this God is and what he does among us.
Love is God himself, working his own life in us. Love is busy and active, creating life as it goes. Hearts that trust God’s love in Christ spring up like water gushing from an artesian well. It converts us, transforms us, and turns us away from selfishness. It sets us free to truly live and love others as Christ himself loves us. Knowing his love is to begin a new life, a life of love for God and love for our neighbour—inside and outside the church. God’s love is the heartbeat of his mission. Any love we have is simply the fruit of his love in us.
‘But’, you might say, ‘I don’t experience the love of God that way, and neither does my congregation’. Yes, sometimes we have loved our traditions and history more than we have God or his world; and there are times when we’ve loved church as an institution more than the people in it. And true, our hearts get trapped by the pull of all kinds of tempting idols. But they don’t have the last say. Christ does!
Right now, it’s time for our Church to re-affirm and re-discover the love of God in Christ. It might not be easy or cosy. God’s love addresses you and me. It’s personal. It burns our idols and it purifies our hearts … So we might experience what it means to be a new creation in Christ and live it in our lives and relationships. His love casts out all fear, and builds us into a community confident in his grace. To love him above all else, and one another as Christ has loved us; that’s his goal!
In his mercy, the Lord promises to revive us again in his love, through his gospel of grace. We hear his voice in the tidal flow of the Scriptures – God speaking and us listening. We rejoice again in the most fundamental of all truths: God loves us!
What has love got to do with it? Everything!
Where Love Comes to Life – short statement, 2012
Where Love Comes to Life – biblical reflections prepared for 2015 General Convention of Synod