Under normal circumstances, the use of circular logic is not recommended. It is a logical fallacy to use the end to justify the question at hand. Describing the love of God, however, is not something that can be defined by logic. God’s love is, as I’ve said elsewhere, prodigal. It is poured out in abundance, with reckless abandon, such that all of humanity, good and evil, believer and heathen, sinner and saint, fall within the reach of God’s saving embrace. Sunday’s Gospel lesson is one of those moments when the irrational logic of love becomes abundantly clear. Well, clear as mud anyway.
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:10-12)
If we keep the commandments of Jesus, we will abide in his love. OK, great, so what are the commandments of Jesus? To love one another as he has loved us. Right, so we love like Jesus loves in order to abide in Jesus’ love? That’s a lot of love. So much love that these words from Jesus to his disciples on the night before he died fill me with a mixture of comfort and fear. There is no way I can love my neighbor like Jesus loves me. Yet, I take some solace in the promise that if I do, I will abide in Jesus’ love, for it is out of that love that I will be able to love.
Wait… what did I just type?
See, the love of God is irrational. We who would follow Jesus are invited into that irrationality. We are called upon to love beyond our means precisely because it will teach us to rely on God who is love. We love because God loved us first, and it is in that relationship of receiving God’s abundant love in order to share it with the world that we ultimately experience the fullness of joy that is our promise from God.
So love the world recklessly and extravagantly, just as God does, because God loves you recklessly and extravagantly.