For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
God’s story woven for us is, rightly understood, the greatest love story of all time. It is the story of an all powerful creator, so in love with His creation that He devises a plan to deliver his people from their own self-made destruction. It is a story that begins and ends and is wrapped all around in love. Love of creation. Love of life. Love of justice and mercy and grace. Love cannot be coerced, cannot be bought, cannot be forced – love must come from a great source within. For us, that source is God Himself, who has imprinted on all of us His spark of love. For God, the love that motivates His story is simply an expression of His most basic nature. God is love. As we light this candle, we are reminded again that just as the flame begins with a spark, our love story with God began with His love for us.
There is a greater story being told. It is a love story, and we are supporting characters, surrounded by the love of God’s hero, Jesus. If we are living in God’s story, we are living in love. There is no other way.
Prayer God, we can truly come to you in prayer and say, “we love you.” We can do so because you are our great source of love, and we recognize that the love we have for you is merely a reflection of the love you have already shown to us. We love you for who you are, for what you have done, and for what you are doing daily in our lives. We love you for loving us, for sending Jesus to deliver us in our darkest night. We love you because it is the only response that understanding you can bring. We love you, and so we serve you with our whole mind, body, and spirit. Amen.