A four letter word shouldn't be so hard to explain.

A friend of mine, a very good friend, one from before I became Christian, or a capoeirista, a grass-roots kind of friend, came to my church one Sunday a good while ago. She listened to the sermon, probably more carefully than half the congregation, or even I did, and afterwards I asked her what she thought of it. She replied to me, politically correctly, and with sensitivity to my feelings, that it had been interesting, but that she preferred the sermons at her mums home church. Why? Because they were always about love and happiness, and our sermon this week, although not directly dealing with hell, had been very fire and brimstones anyway. Hmm, this was almost three years ago, and I still remember that Sunday. Funny.

Today isn't about teaching preachers how or what to teach, heaven knows I haven't a clue, and if anyone, I recognise the importance of balanced teaching. No, today is about sharing some love and happiness - because really that is a basis of my faith, whether in Helsinki, Scotland or Brazil. I don't often do this, but I am going to share a new favourite verse that has been in my head for several weeks, and I can't seem to shake it.

1 Peter 4:8 (NIV) Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.

Above all: In the days that stress weighs so heavily on your shoulders, or anxiety or sadness has whipped your insides about. Or loneliness means that you can't stop crying. Or anger means that you can't see straight or think rationally. Inspiration may have left you, or guilt has made you half of what you used to be. When all your thoughts, feelings – everything inside of you – is all jumbled up, above all means; especially or even then love each other.

This isn't just that kind of loves you, luv ya etc, at the bottom of an email or text message, but deeply, painfully, sacrificially – love one another deeply – because love covers a multitude of sins. Because when we learn to love, open ourselves up to it, allow ourselves, that list of things in the above paragraph (which is pretty much a quick emotional summary of a day in a Brazilian household), well, love covers all of that, love helps us to forgive, to move on, to stop those emotions taking over. It takes the weight off of us, lifts the red haze that blinds us, to think more clearly, to feel physically more healthy, because the hurricane that was on the inside, is no longer there (but somewhere on the coast of the US...too soon?).

Love is sacrificial, because it was sacrificially given t us. It is our main commandment.


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