I discovered an amazing thing the other day. In the current Merriam-Webster Dictionary, there are over 400,000 words in the English language. If we add the new words coming from computer science, medicine, and other sciences, the number grows to over 900,000 words! Whatever happened to that little dictionary I used to carry in my school bag?
If I asked what the most important word is and gave you a chance to think about it, I suspect that, like me, you would choose the word love. It’s only four letters, but is there another word we would miss more? I think popular music would come to a grinding halt. If you think about it, isn’t it true that the reason you and I are here is because, years ago, our moms and dads said to each other, “I love you”? Love means life.
Imagine this scene: a young boy is sitting at the dining room table concentrating on his homework. His mom peeks out from the kitchen, gazes at him, and experiences a tender love for him. She smiles and says, “Johnny, I love you.” Her son looks back with a wave and says, “I love you, too,” and goes back to work.
But Mom continues to gaze at him and, a moment later, she can’t hold back and says, “Johnny, I love.” Once again, Johnny turns to his mom and replies happily, “Yeah, I know. I love you too.” But, one more time, mom says to him softly and in a tone that comes from deep within her heart, “Johnny, I love you.” And Johnny turns to her and is a little concerned because, at his age, he cannot understand fully what his mom is actually saying to him. Someday he will, but at that moment he can’t catch her full meaning.
Moms who are reading this know exactly her meaning. At the moment when love fills her heart, she is saying to her son, “Johnny, I love so you much and so deeply that I would gladly give up my life so that you might have life.”
So That We May Live
And now we understand what power the word love can have even over life and death. When we tell each other most sincerely and with great feeling, “I love you,” it is truly something marvelous.
Jesus spoke these very words at the Last Supper. “I love you”: that’s God speaking. And, in fact, he did love us so much he died that we might live.