Acts 2, 32-33
This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
It’s been said before that love is a verb, not a noun. If this is true, then God being love is exactly that – being love, giving love, acting love, pouring out love. In today’s reading we witness this love in action within the very core of itself – the Godhead.
Let’s examine some of the insights today’s passage brings to one of the greatest mysteries of our faith.
God is love – deeply, profoundly, relational love. And in these verses we witness the trinity constantly loving and honouring its respective members. Love is not static, there is a constantly active flow – continually choosing to honour, exalt, bless, and prefer.
Peter tells us that Jesus is ‘raised up’ and ‘exalted’ by the Father; and has ‘received’ from him the promise of an incredible gift – the Holy Spirit – which he has then ‘poured out’.
In the wider context of Acts 2 we know that the Holy Spirit in turn has poured out incredible power and gifting on the disciples. Why? So they can testify that Jesus is Lord, and the way to the Father. The raising up has come full circle.
Each member of the Trinity is active to move the flow of love and glory to another part – and even beyond so that people too can see how wonderful the fellow members of the Godhead are. The Father is glorifying the Son, and sending the Spirit, through him, so that we glorify the Son too.
The Son is effectively saying to us ‘come to me and I’ll show you the way to the Father’, and giving his spirit to provide revelation of himself as the way to do this. And the Spirit reveals Jesus and basically says ‘come, he is the way to the Father’.
It’s a beautiful, holy, mess of love which makes us dizzy if we begin to grasp even a fraction of it.
When we as Christians talk about love being at the centre of our faith, I’m not sure we always remember that this is the type of love we’re talking about. Often, if we’re honest, we’d quite like the love to stop with us for a while, and to make us feel good about ourselves, rather than constantly giving it to glorify God, and prefer others.
But God calls us to love in action - in our relationship with him, and with others - because we cannot separate the two (1 John 4:20). As we look at our broken world, we know this love is the answer. Can we be part of being, doing and giving it?
Something to do
Take some paper, and draw a diagram using arrows to represent the flow of love from the Father, to the Son, to the Holy Spirit, and then to you. Now extend that flow again from you outwards in all directions to everyone who is in your circle of influence.
Include, for example, close friends; family; neighbours; people at church; people in need; your community; colleagues; and those much further away who you can affect with your prayers, giving, campaigning and lifestyle choices. Use the diagram to help focus your prayers for the Holy Spirit’s help in loving all of these people proactively, practically, and sincerely.
Something to pray
Father, Spirit, Son – triune, relational God,
I praise you because you are Love.
Teach me your way – the very best way –
To love, serve, prefer and honour.
For I would practise and learn your art –
Teach me how to live love as a verb,
Pouring out myself in devotion to you
And all whose lives I touch today.
I choose to reject the notion that love is a feeling,
A noun or a state
And instead, take up my cross and follow you
Step by step in the way of grace.
In your precious name – Father, Spirit, Son –
Today’s contributor is Liz Baddaley, a former staff member of Christian Aid. She is a worship leader, song-writer, freelance writer and editor specialising in Bible study and worship resources for charities. She is also the co-founder ofwww.thesanctuarycentre.org