Living and Loving on the Right Side of the Cross – Part Four

Matthew 22: 36 – 40

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

Compliance with this command keeps hope alive. 

When you think about the force behind the command you have reason for hope. It motivates you to venture in His name. His vacillating disciples became venturous after the resurrection. It set them free to love.

We are reluctant to love for fear of injury. If you dare to love in Jesus’ name you make yourself vulnerable to being hurt. Believe me I know. However, if you don’t love you make yourself sick.

When compelled by Jesus’ great love you venture. I saw a T-shirt with this inscription: “You will never reach second base with one foot on first.”

A classic example of a loving response to hate and brute force is seen in Coventry, England. On the night of November 14, 1940, nearly 500 German bombers attacked the English city of Coventry. Over 600 tons of explosives and thousands of incendiary bombs were dropped.

700,000 homes were destroyed and 400 people killed.

Amid the rubble stood the remains of the formerly beloved beautiful 14th Century Coventry Cathedral.

Having stood in those ruins let me tell you what you would see if you were to visit there. In love, the people of the city have now built a beautiful modern cathedral beside the ruins of the old one. The old walls of the ancient gothic cathedral that still stand are architecturally connected to the new modern structure. There is a large charred wooden cross that stands on the soot blackened stone where the altar once was located. The cross is made of charred beams of the old cathedral. On a table is another smaller cross. It was formed by two twisted spikes used by medieval craftsmen to construct the roof. The spikes had fallen forming a cross.

Since that night an inscription has been carved in the wall reading: “Father, forgive…”

That is what it means to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

The new cathedral at Coventry has much art. None is more striking than the larger than life sculpture just outside the main entrance. It depicts Michael the archangel, spear in hand, poised triumphantly over a prostrated, manacled dragon. It depicts the ultimate victory of Jesus over evil.

He, the triumphant, resurrected Jesus, the one who commanded us to love is the one who gives us the victory in love.

Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th Century preacher, asked a question and answered it himself. His question: “Why should we love God?”

His answer: “Because He is God.” Love Him by obeying Him and love others in His name.