educate equip enable
I love music.
It is such an important part of how we express the many things we experience as human beings.
Just think of the tenderness a parent shows for their child when they sing a lullaby.
Or the way the blood stirs in response to the theme from Star Wars, for example.
Doesn't it make you want to grab your light sabre and rush off to do battle with intergalactic enemies?
We are influenced so much by music, but its influence isn't always positive.
When I was a teenager, we had certain music that we always listened to in down times - following relationship breakups, failing exams, or pimple breakouts.
It influenced our mood by keeping us wallowing in self pity.
Yet we draw so many of our ideas on life from music, especially pop songs.
I recently listened to a random selection of love songs to see what views they reflected.
Here's a sample of what I found.
* A man proclaiming his love could be proved because he would die for his woman, and would lie for her. However, he effect was somewhat spoilt when he added, "but only if you tell me to".
* A teenager declaring he finds his paradise, when his loved one looks him in the eye.
* A young woman convincing us that partnering her boyfriend is the sole reason she was put into this world.
And so the list goes on.
It's not that today's music is any worse in this regard than when I was a girl.
I was influenced by songs which stated such questionable truths as "I can't live, if living is without you", or "I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you, but don't feel sad, because two out of three ain't bad."
Now there's something you can really build your life on!
Small wonder that the average person today has confused thinking when it comes to defining love.
Yet true love was never meant to be complicated.
In fact, God thought it was so important for us to understand it, that He gave us the ultimate demonstration of what love is, and then recorded it in the bible so we could read about it any time we had doubts.
He sums it up succinctly in the statement "God loved the world so much, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
It's not about God's feelings, His hopes, needs, fears or dreams.
It's all about giving - and the recipients of this amazing love have nothing to offer in return.
They are unlovely and undeserving of such a love, but God chooses them anyway.
Who are they?
Every one of us who recognises that we can't ever earn or repay a love like this, but who is willing to believe that such a love can transform us into something incredible, and can embrace the truth that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Communion is all about honouring Jesus' request that we remember Him when we meet together, and reminding ourselves of everything He has done on our behalf.
Let's make time now to do exactly that, as we eat the bread which reminds us of His body, which He allowed to be broken to pay for our sins, and as we drink the cup which recalls His life blood which He freely shed as the price for our freedom.
Now that's love.