Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8,9
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.” These are the opening lines from a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet #43 from Sonnets From the Portuguese. In our relationship to Christ how often do we reflect on the fact that it is based on love? We know that our relationship with the Father is based on His love for us. We know that the Son loves us because He gave his life for us. Do we ever think about how we feel about the Lord? In a relationship between a husband and a wife the passage of time changes the expression of their love. It takes on over time a maturity based on experience and deepening passion. The heady high emotional days of young love, which is based on emotional proclamations and expressions, gives way to understanding and trust. With just a look and a presence many things can be communicated. I am reminded of the psalmist who challenged us to “be still and know that I am God.” In our hectic paced world where we are always on the move we lose something if we don’t allow ourselves the quiet times to meditate and reflect on who God is. When we do have our time what we come to realize is just how much it means to us when we can focus just on him. In 1st Peter we are reminded that our relationship is based on our faith in one whom we have never seen with the physical eye but our love (agapao) is based on the regarded value that we place on Christ. We take pleasure in Him because we believe in Him. This pleasure that we find in Christ is expressed by our joy. Jesus makes us glad. It is the feeling that we get when we think of someone we really love or what we feel when we get to be with them. Jesus is the cause of our joy and we should never forget that. Peter writes that He (Jesus) is full of glory. This is a word, which means that He is worthy of all the dignity and worth in which we hold Him to be of exceptional value and we make it known. How that is accomplished is not just by what we say but how we live because it reflects Him and on Him. We receive back the reward of our faith, our salvation. May we stop and reflect about Christ what Elizabeth Barrett wrote of Robert Browning…”How do I love Christ, let me count the ways”. I hope this love will cause us to treasure all of our moments with Him despite what may be happening in our situations or our circumstances. The background for Sonnet #43 is that it was based on a relationship that was built over a period of time may our walk with Christ be found to be the same. Love doesn’t just include the good times it includes all of the times.
H. Scott Latimer