Renewal Movement Committee

Thy kingdom Come Ascension to Pentecost Novena


The God who loves

1 John 4:7-8 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Life can be seen as a search for love. We long to give love and to receive it. The New Testament, written originally in Greek, uses different Greek words for love. They express the variety of ways in which we find and understand what it is to love and be loved.

In these verses just one word is used. The Greek word ‘agape. John uses it six times in just two verses. This love is special, different. This love has the heart of God as its source, the cross of Christ as its sacrificial expression, and the power of the Holy Spirit to produce in Christians that same quality of selfless love.

This is the love of God, the Holy Trinity, which calls from us a response of love which only His grace and power can produce in us. This agape love expresses the heart of the God who is love. This is the love that Jesus demonstrated as being greater than any other love. That selfless love touches the lepers, embraces the outcast, welcomes those whom polite society condemned, and opens His arms on the cross to encircle the world.

John is not content merely to soak up that love from God. He does want his readers to rest in that love, and to find in it the assurance of sins forgiven and the powerful liberty of the Holy Spirit to set them free from slavery to selfishness and sin; but He looks for more. As Christians, we are to be channels of that love which comes from God and which so demonstrates His nature that John says ‘God is love.”

It is a tragedy when any congregation fails to demonstrate that divine love in its relationship with the Lord, with fellow Christians, or with the world Christ came to save. St Paul wrote, “The greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13), and in Revelation Jesus writes to the Church at Ephesus, ‘You have lost your first love’ (Revelation 2). Let’s take a look in the spiritual mirror of God’s word and ask Him to make our love complete.

As we pray for our five folk today, let us remember their need of love. Let’s bring their emotional and physical needs to God and pray that they may open up to His eternal love, His healing, life and light. Living the Kingdom today is obedience to a straightforward command from the Apostle: ‘Friends, let us love one another. It was the mark of the life of the early church that convinced others of the truth of the good news.

The Very Revd Bob Key

Note: The Thy Kingdom Come Novena for 2023 is focused on verses from St John’s First Letter. Thy Kingdom Come is an annual invitation and encouragement to Christians and Churches, across the world, to seek the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we might live out and share the Kingdom of God. – The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby &The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell

Deanie Lambie-Williams