God, give us Your love in our heart. Amen.
Text: First John 4:16–21
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
God is love. Whoever lives in hatred and anger is far from God and is not saved. We must be converted and receive a new heart if we are to be happy. But how blessed are those who love God and the brethren! You have certainly felt the reflection of God’s love: natural love between us human beings. It is the noblest and best of all the world’s good things and rejoices the heart more than prestige and gold. How much more then, divine love itself will do this: tasting God’s own blessed, heavenly life in the heart!
We were created because God loves us, and we were formed to receive this love within ourselves and to enjoy it in blessedness. We lost it when we fell away from God. But when the Spirit wakens us, our heart thirsts for it again, gladly absorbs it, and it thrills every fiber within us. God is love, and God’s kingdom on earth and in heaven is a kingdom of love. Those who do not love do not know God and do not belong to Him. But if you long for the holy God, and rejoice before Him, and you take no pleasure in anything on earth besides Him: then God is in you. He loved you first, and you love Him in return. Your joy in Him is His joy in you – nd what is that but eternal life? Now are you scared of meeting Him on that day? Do you hide from Him, like Adam after the fall? No, He has given His Son as atonement for our sins, so they no longer stand between us and hinder our love. Or is there anyone now that you hate and must therefore want to be reconciled with before God? Love in Jesus has reconciled you with everyone. It has transformed your feelings about the whole world and given you eyes to see everything differently. As everything lives and moves and has its being in God, so also your heart is expanded so that there is room for all. O how great love is, how rich it is, how powerful it is! Whoever loves is lord over all things, free from all things, exalted over all things, and a servant of all. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
God, give us this most glorious and most blessed thing of all. Give us love’s most noble, richest, most beautiful, purest life. Pour out Christ’s love in our heart by Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Our God is love and charity;
In Him I am abiding.
In Him I would forever be;
In me He is providing
True faith and trust;
The trumpet’s voice
No longer terrifies me;
On judgment day He is my Stay,
Who with His grace supplies me.
I love my God sincere and free
And nothing me does frighten;
E’en sorrow now brings cheer to me
Though worldly pressure heighten.
My soul, and pray
That love within be burning
For one and all, Both great and small
And for their good be yearning.
Kingo: Vor Gud er idel Kjærlighed L 458.1-2 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Mit Haab og Trøst og al Tillid (LHy 428) or Was mein Gott will (ELH 261); alternate hymn: Love divine, all love excelling ELH 407