Indeed, that’s how a popular praise song goes: “Bind us together with chords that cannot be broken.” Of course, there is also the old hymn “Blest Be the Tie that Binds, our hearts in Christian love…” Such language of bonding may resonate with us.
I say this because over the last few years I have observed how the bonds that have kept us together – at least as a society – are unraveling. So many things seem to be coming apart. I don’t think I am the only one saying this. More and more, we see the bonds of love and trust broken in government, in the church, in corporate life, even in family life. The ties that bind us together seem to be coming apart, especially when we see that the highest rate of suicide in the Western hemisphere is now in the United States, a symptom if there ever was one of a lack of understanding and compassion, or of broken bonds in our common life together. We also see it in the opioid epidemic. Such breakdowns remind that God created us for relationships, but that such relationships always need to be cultivated.
And so, when we read in First John that God is love we can hopefully realize again that our relationship with God and with each other is about holy and sacrificial love – trusting, believing, “abiding” love. That’s the word John uses – abiding.
“Abiding love” is about a “hanging together” kind of love, or a “learning how to go down the same road together” kind of love, even when the road is difficult. We learn to abide with each other or stay with each other. It is not easy to do, but it is something we are called to do.
How may we continue to abide with each other? If God is love, how may we show such love to others?
Pastor Andy Kinsey