July 03, 2008

The Price We Pay for Love

Hebrews 12:1-3

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus … who for the joy set before him endured the cross …
Hebrews 12:2


My daughter once had a stuffed animal that she crawled into bed with each night. Once when I was tucking her in, she showed me how some of the stitching was coming loose on her stuffed dog. She was sad because she wanted “Buddy” to stay new. I told her there was only one way to keep him from looking worn: we would have to put him away in a closet or drawer. She resisted that idea immediately. She would rather keep Buddy than put him away, even if that meant he would get more and more ragged. That reminds us of how risky love can be. When we love someone, the wounds they sustain hurt us as well. I once attended a worship service at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City. I noticed a pillar at the front of the sanctuary with the following inscription: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Queen Elizabeth of England had chosen those words to conclude a message she sent to this troubled congregation shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Grief feels heavy because it corresponds to the size of love. Grief is as deep as love is high. When Jesus was crucified, his suffering was more than physical. He also felt the sharp pain of love deep in his heart. His grief was the price he paid for a love wide enough to cover the world.

Thank you, Lord, for loving us so much. May all who feel sad today find comfort in your love. Help me to show your love to them, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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