I have been a guest on our local radio station the Friday before Valentine’s Day for the last few years. It is 8AM to 9AM on Friday morning, the time when only nursing home community rooms and oil change shops have their radio tuned to that program. They want me to come on and answer call-in questions, banter with the show host, and in general talk about love. Or as Nick, the DriveTime Morning Show guy says, “Luuvvvv!” Well, it gets me out of bed on a Friday morning.
As I was driving in this morning, listening to the local Swap & Shop that comes on just before my amazing moment, I had the thought, “You know, in some form or fashion, this is taking place in thousands of communities, and on thousands of radio stations across America, this very moment.” Just before Valentine’s Day, and maybe most especially, this year, people are having conversations about relationships, marriage, dating issues, about “luuvvv.” In fact, to borrow from Mark Twain, “Love is like the weather. Everybody is talking about it and nobody is doing anything about it.
Therein lies the problem. Love was never meant to be talked about. It was meant to be acted upon. The cliché is true, “Love is a verb.” Love has steps, and movement, and actions and reactions. Love is about doing something. Not just a philosophical argument to be had over checkers in the community room.
When Doris and I married 43 years ago, (yes, we are both 39, I don’t care what the math says!), I would say to her, “I love you,” to which she would quietly respond, “Me too.” “Me too?” I’d say. “You mean you love you too. What does that even mean?” It used to bug me to death that she was so bad at saying, “I love you.” What I have discovered looking back over the years, I was great at saying it. Not as good at doing it. Doris, on the other hand, while she didn’t articulate it very well, is a master at demonstrating true love. She bakes pies for sick people. She writes cards to ladies who are in crisis. She meets often with hurting wives. She gathers up food, and clothes for under-served people. And she has stood by my side through thick and thin for a long, long, time. She is far better at doing love than I am.
There’s a lesson there for Valentine’s Day weekend. But there is a lesson there all year long as well. If we know anything about the call of God upon our lives, we know that it is a call to love one another. And nowhere in scripture does the Bible urge us to talk about love more. Always, when love is admonished it is accompanied by examples of doing love. Feeding, forgiving, finding, reaching out, and making a difference in the life of someone who needs to be shown love, not told love. Even those people that we have a hard time loving. I posted on Instagram today the quote by Augustine that says, “Don’t worry about whether or not you love your neighbor, ACT like it.” There needs to be a lot more doing something about it and a lot less talking about it.
One more random thought, I think that is true of my love for God as well. Perhaps I need to not be so quick to verbalize my love for the Father and be more intentional about actually demonstrating that. So here is an idea. (You knew this was coming, didn’t you?) Next Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. From February 17 until April 4, we will be turning our attention to His incredible demonstration of love for us when He died on the cross and then was resurrected to show us a way to the Father’s Love. What if we chose to spend this Lenten Season trying to act out ways that we love Him, to make our love a verb, not a meaningless noun that we throw around casually. I propose this, for 40 Days (Lent is 40 days if you take out Sundays.) we try to live Love Actually. (Yes, I know it’s the name of a Christmas movie with some not so Christmasy themes.) But what if we did? Forget about the movie, what if we very intentionally acted out our love for Him by putting a few rituals in place in our daily walks? Here are 5 things that I propose to Love Actually in 2021. We show our love for:
- His Word- Spending 15 minutes a day reading the word of God. (I’ll make some suggestions.)
- His Presence-Praying 12 minutes each day. (I have a plan.)
- His Church-Doing one act of service for the church each week. (Ideas?)
- His People-Sending a note (text, email) of encouragement each day to someone. (40 notes, 40 days.)
- And, His Creation-Doing something each week to make the physical world better. (Again, suggestions)
Think about that. If you’re interested, check back on Monday. I’ll post a video laying out some ideas. I don’t imagine that we are going to change the world by doing these 5 things for 40 days. But I do think we can make it a little better by ACTUALLY loving rather than just talking about it. Consider joining me for Love Actually, Lent 2021.
Oh, by the way…I love you.