Kelly Bates Oglesby resides with her husband in Indianapolis. Presently she’s discerning ministry/pastoral opportunities while providing supply preaching and teaching service as called. She’s looking forward to the Women in Leadership Project’s Women Doing Theology conference in November.
Verbs are action indicators in our life story. Through verbs we understand what was, is and will be done. Verbs give dimension and direction to the people, places and things we encounter in community and along the journey.
As we consider love as a verb there are so many directions we are called to act, counteract, react and even proact. Love has birthed, cultivated. Love is protecting and sharing. Love will wait, witness and serve.
Too often we understand love as roses and lyrics. Love is quiet and patient, giving us space and time to be still and know God. Love is much more.
Like other verbs, love at times requires adverbs for us to comprehend the depth, breadth and strength of love. Love outrageously responds to protect others from hurt and provide compassion in turmoil.
Loving loudly and intentionally we, the Church, roar against injustice. Lovingly we reach to the outcast and generously share our abundance with whomever is in need.
We love prophetically and ceaselessly against strife. Loving the Word of God so fiercely, we study to become the embodiment of God’s word in life. As the despairing cries of creation and created ones rise in our ears, love seeks to identify with the wounded, isolated and marginalized. Love shares joy and hope in myriad ways. Loving God more than ourselves and our neighbors as ourselves, we love generously and hospitably.
Love forcefully rejects greed, pride and jealously. Love understandingly accepts the challenge of change but stands grounded in the sacredness of our unchanging God.
Love energetically serves the prisoner, foreigner and the sick. Love willingly cares for family and loved ones. Love is prepared to sacrifice and serve. Loving and growing in love, we recognize the divine image of God in others. We love against violence, hatred and inequality. We love over the silence and love out the negativity that diminishes others and destroys communal joy and well being.
Love submissively and serenely connects with others to develop stronger and richer bonds. The sure bonds of love are noun and verb, even adverb and adjective so that our testimony is not bound by culture, construct or even blocked by confusion.
Love ebbs and flows, waits in ripples and rushes in tides. Love is still but never stagnant.
God is near to brokenhearted, the afflicted, the children, the oppressed, the poor, the rejected. The love we have for God and God’s love within us compels us to work for justice and pursue peace. Instruments of peace, the Body of Christ, the embodied love of God is to be loving and living so that others see our ministry and seek God.
Love is not reticent. Love is not feeble. Love is not apathetic. Love is … wherever and whenever people need God. Love is available and willing to serve. Love sensitively and sensibly binds wounds, reveals truth and uplifts others.
What loving have we done lately? Do we love creation and created beings without bias? Are we committed to love or lingering around only when convenient? Do we love heartily or just comfortably? Can love, can God be recognized in our actions? Are our lives loving, lovable, lovely?
We each have a great capacity to love. Let us love each other, love together and love in prayer and deed. Love empowers us to carry out the verbs that flow from unity in faith and hope in Christ.
We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God’s love live in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4:16 God’s Word Translation