Love does not exist unless it is given away. In the Christian faith, God gave God’s love away by creating the Incarnation – which turned out to be the person of Jesus. And Jesus’ love for humanity was given away when he offered himself up to death. God gave us Jesus, and Jesus gave us his life – all done with a love that was given away. And in both cases, the love continues.
Easter is the witness that love is stronger than death.
That is sometimes hard to believe, and difficult to embrace. It certainly was for Peter, who had a rather famous conversation as recorded in John’s Gospel. Three times the risen Christ asks Peter, “Peter, do you love me?” (John 21:16). Three times Peter answers that he indeed does love Jesus. And three times, the risen Christ asks Peter to “feed my sheep.” Pass the love on, because it doesn’t exist unless it is given away.
On this Easter Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection, which is the gift of a divine love that cannot be shut down by death. Or by fear or anger or disappointment or grief. This enormous gift of love has been given to us.
We can’t keep love to ourselves or live with the illusion that we own it – or try and build a protective barrier around it. Instead, we are challenged to pass love on. To our family, our church, our neighborhood – to pass it on somewhere. Not just once, but as a regular practice. Otherwise, it doesn’t really exist.
Easter is not just a holiday we are invited to observe, but an extraordinary event of love that begs our witness – and our action.