WEEK 1: LOVE
Love is at the center of the universe and at the center of Redemption Church.
From eternity past, the One God exists in three persons as an eternal communion of perfect love. Out of the overflow of that love he created the world we inhabit, such that relationship is woven into the fabric of all that exists. This relational vision for creation implicates our understanding of sin; at the heart of humanity’s rebellion, there is relational discord with God which reverberates through the whole of the universe. Sin is, among other things, the obstruction of love. God’s instruction to his covenant people, the Law, was designed to teach fallen people how to love; the end, or purpose, of the law is love. God, in Christ, does what the Law has failed to do, showing us in the flesh what the fulfillment of the Law looks like. Love is not merely revealed in ink on a page but in the person of Jesus.
Jesus shows us how love is truth-telling, humble, sacrificial, considerate, hospitable, hostility absorbing, non-reactive, lower-place-taking, honest, initiative-taking, thoughtful, serving, forgiving, and, ultimately, substitutionary. Love necessarily spills out into public life; justice is what love looks like when it moves through a society. Where people love their neighbors as themselves, there will be a society that is moving towards justice. Love pursues the other; we must have connection with people who are not like us in order to love like Jesus. Love is not blind; it enables us to take on the perspectives of others. Love is not in a hurry; it is pleased to take the time to cultivate relationships rooted in trust and respect.
The Lord, who is love, defines love. If we are to follow Jesus, love is the only way. This relational lens shapes our approach to doctrine and practice as Redemption Church.