Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, April 16, 2018

Reflected Love


I am old enough to remember some of the first color photographs that were a result of spaceships traveling to the moon. What an amazingly colorful and vibrant place the earth seems from outer space. It is quite a site to behold, with its mixture of whites and blues and browns.

In a meditation on “Loving because He first loved us” Rev. Charlie Handren, of Elk River, Minnesota, reminds his readers that the reason the earth can be seen in space is because the light of the sun pulses toward it and then, to some extent, reflects back into space.

He writes “This is called “albedo” or the rate of reflectivity. But did you know that a portion of the sun’s light that hits the earth actually travels back to the sun? If you were standing on the sun you would not be able to see it because the light of the sun would overwhelm it, but it would be there nonetheless.”

Just as the earth only shines because it receives light from the sun, and then sends back a portion of that light to the sun, so we love God because God first loved us. The love with which we love God, is but a dim reflection of the love with which God first loved us. The love of God is a self-generating, independent, and ever flowing love; our love is an other-generated, dependent, and reflected love.

We sometimes make the mistake of believing that the love of God is something we have to earn by making ourselves worthy of being a child of God. The problem with such a notion of “Becoming good enough” is that none of us can ever be that good. The holiness of God is as far from our attainment as the sun is from the earth!

Here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we have been looking together at the First Letter of John. In his first couple of chapters John talks a lot about the ability of sin to ruin everything. It ruins our relationship with God. It ruins our relationship with each other. Yet sin has a remedy. That remedy is nothing less that the love we find through Jesus Christ. He died to forgive us our sins, and was raised to give us new life. His love is made manifest in our hearts through the action of the Holy Spirit. (Our sermon from last week “Sin's Remedy” can be found here.)

In John's remaining chapters he talks less about and sin and more about love. This week we take a look at 1John 3:16-24. How do we become more loving? His suggestion is that we do so through reflection. By focusing on the love that God has for us, so we understand that we are called to reflect that love, to each other. As we apply ourselves to doing so, then God's love shines in our hearts and helps us walk in the light!

God's light and love are so much greater than anything we can attain by ourselves. But by focusing on God, we become reflectors of Christ's love. By applying the light of scripture to our lives, not only do we gain personal enlightenment, but we become a hope and help to others. By opening our hearts to God's light through worshiping together, we have an opportunity to become communities of faith that can have a significant impact for good within the communities in which we live, move and have our being!

For some music, Hillsong sing Graham Kendrick's “Shine Jesus Shine.

The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.

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