Love in November

The hottest topic every February is love—love in the context of a boy and girl relationship. In fact, secular television stations even flood the airwaves with how-tos, hoping to help couples strengthen or salvage their vows.

But as early as November, both the Dormitories Christian Fellowship and the Living Word Christian Fellowship are talking about love—love for God and for brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Bible is clear when it set Jesus as the standard of love among believers. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13),” Jesus said, referring to His sacrificial death on the cross for the salvation of humankind.

He also placed emphasis on one great commandment, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).”

Undoubtedly, love has a place in the life of believers. DCF and LWCF set out to understand the “agape” love or the unconditional love in this year’s camp at the Word of Life retreat center in Calauan, Laguna.

From the discussions of Francis de Vera, a DCF alumnus, and Mark Gicain, the Youth Pastor of Diliman Campus Bible Church, the attendees from UP and Lucban faced the question, “What does it mean to love God and brothers and sisters?”

Love begins with God. Love began within the triune nature of our Lord where it was fully expressed. God was also the initiator of the love relationship with humanity. Every person on earth was still a sinner when God demonstrated His great love by dying on the cross.

This love is summarized in the most famous verse, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Humanity’s response is but a product of God’s initiative. Christians love God because Christ loved them first. At the same time, they love one another as an overflow of their love for God. Thus, it is the vertical relationship—between God and man—that precedes the horizontal relationship among brothers and sisters in Christ.

To crystallize these concepts, the campers went through a reflection activity where they were challenged to consider their standing before God. They say they love God, but is their life reflecting this claim? They say they love their brothers and sisters, have they gone beyond themselves to serve one another?

There were many more questions and challenges, but the true test of learning is in the application. As the camp came to a close, the attendees took with them the example of Christ’s love to learn from and live by.

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