There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18
St Valentine’s Day is an annual opportunity to reflect on Love. God is Love, John tells us, yet many Christians struggle with images of God that evoke an unhealthy fear rather than love, trust and gratitude. For some, God is the Omnipotent One who excludes, punishes and condemns. The only image of God we can fully embrace without fear is Jesus, and Jesus is the embodiment of God’s perfect and unconditional love. Jesus calls the Father “Abba” (Daddy). He describes Him as “prodigal” (wastefully extravagant) in love and forgiveness. Jesus himself loved humanity to death, literally.
We each have images of God, sometimes so deeply ingrained that we do not even realize their impact on our daily walk with God. Scripture gives us many: a mother hen, a fortress and refuge.
Steven Charleston, a Choctaw elder gives us a beautiful image worthy of meditation.
“One of my images of God is that of Grandmother, the wise old Native woman with gray hair and eyes as ancient as the Earth. She takes my face gently in her hands and holds me in Her gaze as She tells me what She thinks I need to know, forming the words slowly so I can remember them and let them sink in.”
God is Love. We are loved. Could we receive a more beautiful valentine?