Defining love

A groom beholding his bride walking towards him overcome by the beauty of the moment, the glory of his beloved.


The gasping overcome breathe of a father as his firstborn enters the world and he holds fast his weary wife and precious child in fearful, protective embrace.

Breathless, tearful goodbyes between lovers soon to be separated.


The choked tender goodnight kiss of a weary mother impressing quivering lips to the peacefully sleeping child, no longer fighting restlessly.


I love you

So much desire, pain, hope, history, excitement, wonder and awe bound up within the phrase, the word. Yet so often the word gets caught in the throat, and spills out in a look, an action, any way to express the height, depth and breadth. I love you.


Our children ask us the meaning of all sorts of words at the moment. Worlds of fantasy and fiction, of fairytale and fact are opening their imaginations and minds to an overwhelming plethora of new language.

Words to be tried out and tested, played with and sounded out, used and misused, spoken and whispered and screamed back out into the world, taken from pages to people.


But not once have they asked us to define love.

What does love mean?

This word that transcends comprehension, articulation, that no number of synonym can suffice to encapsulate with all its wonder, fear, awe, emotion, action and depth.


We find ourselves lost for words;

Hunting around for synonyms that don’t quite fit;

Offering a definition that falls far short of all we want to convey.


Or maybe there is a way to define. A way for our finite hearts and minds to grasp a degree of the transcendent glory contained in this word.


For love is defined only and purely by one.
By one is who Beloved and creates, calls and carries us forevermore as his own beloved.
For the word love is defined by the name Jesus.

Defined by the person Jesus.

Defined by the only Son of God, Jesus.


The Beloved who lives forevermore as Lover, as one who defines and fulfills all that is means to love.

Who calls us to live a life of love, as created and so creatively, purposefully, with intentional pursuit, giving ourselves to loving others.


As we behold the life of love that Jesus enacted, seeking out the lost, declaring loved and accepted those the world would define as ‘un-loveable’. Washing feet, feeding, consoling, convicting, debating, healing, calling, sending, resting, rebuking, lamenting and rejoicing, receiving hospitality and extending it, noticing, inviting, intentionally pursuing and being willing to be interrupted.

The Beloved declaring in every attentive word and deed, I love you.


As we behold Jesus calling children, the elderly, the leprous, the marginalized, the poor, rich, as we behold Him speaking with compassion and convicting challenge, we behold the Beloved who loved his own.


As we behold his relentless unyielding pursuit of living out the loving eternal fellowship with Father and Spirit, pouring this same love out to others, we behold a love enacted in sacrificial surrender and death.


In Jesus we behold the love of God that loves his own and loves them to the end.


By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down his life and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

By this we know what love is…..by Jesus.

Created, commanded and compelled by the love of the Beloved to live lives defined by love.

Defined by Jesus.

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