By Phil Wood
Considering the sermon by Pat Russell, entitled "Where Is Love," on December 20, 2020.
Scripture readings: Psalm 89:1-3, Luke 2:1-7
The apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians (and for all of us who would come to know Christ) "that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Yesterday, Pat Russell helped us get a little firmer grasp on the breadth, the length, the height and the depth of the love of Christ, and what it means for the way we live our lives.
She shared the story of Mary and Joseph, especially their journey to Bethlehem, probably a couple of weeks in duration, over difficult terrain, with Mary in the late stages of pregnancy, riding on a donkey. If you want to go deeper into what it must have been like, and grasp the depth of love it must have taken for them to get through this trial, I strongly recommend the movie "The Nativity Story." You can order the DVD on Amazon and have it by Christmas. Or, if you have Amazon Prime, I believe you can rent and watch it in HD tonight, if you want. I recommend you do that soon, it's a wonderful film.
Pat shared this painting by Gari Melchers called "The Nativity." If you want to go deeper on Pat's message, I recommend you spend some time meditating on this painting. Live into the depth of what these two have been through, know the total exhaustion of these two who have completely spent themselves out of Love for the LORD God and his child, Jesus, the long awaited Savior of the world. This is a picture of the depth of the love of Christ.
And Pat spoke of Christ, himself, how he lived his life, how he sacrificed everything he had, how he completely spent himself out of love – for us.
Meditate on these words from Philippians 2:6-8
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be
used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross.
Love is not a feeling. Love is willing the good of others and spending yourself completely on their behalf. This is love in its widest, longest, highest, deepest form. This is the love that God burst into human existence for us to know.