The Bible Buddy tag in this picture is from Vacation Bible School this past summer. There is one for each day and on the other side is a picture of the character of the day. My first grade daughter was excited to bring these to school for her day with the Share Bag. She chose this verse as her favorite. Once I realized that Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day this year, I could not get this verse out of my head.
I will confess that the sacrificial aspect of the cross is not a major emphasis of my faith. Perhaps it’s because I bristle when I hear the argument that we should make sacrifices for God because Jesus “made the ultimate sacrifice.” If feels guilt-ridden and has been known to keep people in unhealthy or even abusive relationships and communities. I know many find solace and meaning in the idea that God would go to such ends for them.
As I’ve thought and meditated on this particular verse, I’m finding that Valentine’s Day falling on Ash Wednesday is really making me think about the relationship between love and sacrifice. Jesus gave up his life so that we might know true love. He also made great sacrifices during his life and ministry so that many on the margins might know love. His love for others motivated the sacrifice. Some choose make some sort of sacrifice during Lent by giving something up. Is that sacrifice motivated by love? What sacrifice might we make, motivated by God’s love for us, so that others might know that love?