BY REV. DR. SARAH ROHRET - CALVARY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
"Those who love their life will lose it and those who hate their life will gain eternal life” is the traditional translation of John 12: 25. I like the Message version better – “those who hang onto life in this world will lose it, those who let it go, reckless in your love, will gain it for eternal life.”
Reckless in your love is a stand out phrase for me. Reckless means careless, not seeming to value.
What does it mean to be reckless in your love? To be so reckless in loving that you let go of your own life. What an amazing way to love! So often we are calculating in our love, we weigh costs and benefits, how many times you did the dishes verses how many times I took out the trash. How would it look to be reckless in offering love, so much that it seemed you cared more about offering love than your own life?
Reckless love might look like my friend Nick Vos who was a paratrooper in World War II — jumping out of planes at the call of your country, to save a people whom you don’t know from death camps. Risking your life time and again so a dictator could be stopped from killing the innocent. Nick was an American hero because of his reckless love.
Reckless love might look like my friend Jo Williams who loved generously every student who came into her class and every neighbor and church member around her. She was an only child who never married and had no children but because of her reckless love she left behind a huge amount of “family” who loved her.
Reckless love looks like God, who came in the flesh to live with us in our human condition. He walked our dusty paths, fed the hungry, healed the sick, hugged children and raised the dead. He suffered, was tortured, humiliated, abandoned by his friends, died a horrible death — he understands all the pain that we go through. Jesus has been there, such was his reckless love for us. Love led him to the Cross and love lifted him from death to life to show us that death does not win.
Jesus said when we have this kind of self-giving, reckless love we give away our life, yet we also gain eternal life. It is the paradox of our faith that the more we give we receive, the more we serve the more we gain, the more reckless we are in loving the more love we get back and the less we hold tight to life on this earth the more sure we are of our eternal life. God help us to live fully, generously, recklessly giving away our love.