Tonight is the second sermon in our five-week Lenten preaching series, “Love Life.” In this series we have been focusing on the Gospel of John and its theme of love. Tonight we consider the “invitation to be loved” which the gospel offers us. We are invited by THE GOD WHO IS LOVE to enter into a loving and intimate relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…. and to extend that love to others, particularly those in the community of Christ’s followers and those who are in need.
In the First Letter of John we learn that “God is love” (I Jn 4:16) and that “God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God” (I Jn 4:15). This is the testimony of the believing community, who have come to “know and believe the love that God has for us” (I Jn 4:16) through the testimony of Jesus and the testimony of the Beloved Disciple found in the Fourth Gospel. They have discovered their true identity as beloved children of God and are learning to live – or to abide – in that identity. “See what love the Father has given us,” the author exclaims, “that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are!” (I Jn 3:1)