Love #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter L

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

A search of the Bible for the word love also counts loved, lovely and loves. From the NKJV there are 267 references in the Old Testament and 237 in the New Testament, which is much shorter. Love features strongly in the New Testament.

To jump to the story The disciple John tells of a memorable day click here.

Last year in the A to Z Challenge I suggested that the Easter story is the greatest story about love ever told. This year Easter day (Resurrection Day) was celebrated on Sunday 4 April in the west. It will be celebrated on Sunday 2 May by the Eastern Orthodox Christians.

The Bible includes stories about love within families, romantic love, God’s love and (in the New Testament) how love is acted out between believers.

Here are some links to passages about love in the New Testament:

Matthew 5:44-46

John 3:16, John 13:34-35, John 15:12-13

Romans 8:38-39, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 1 John 4:7-21

The disciple John tells of a memorable day

It was quite unusual for the Master to take a few of us apart from the rest of the twelve disciples. On what started out as an ordinary day, with people coming to us to be healed, he called three of us to one side and led us up a mountain. There was Simon Peter and my brother James. We weren’t known as the quietest disciples, but that day we didn’t know what to say.

At the top of the mountain the Master began to look quite different from usual. His face shone and his clothes looked whiter than anything I have ever seen. It was as if light was coming from them. Then we saw Moses and Elijah talking with him.

Peter always had to say something.

‘Lord, it is good that we are here. Would you like me to build three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah?’

While he was speaking a bright cloud came and hid the Master, Moses and Elijah from our view. Then we heard a voice from the cloud.

‘This is my Son, whom I love and with whom I am pleased. Listen to him!’

We were terrified and fell to the ground. Then we felt his gentle hand as he told us to get up. ‘Don’t be afraid.’

The three of us were alone with Jesus on the mountain top.

As we came down from the mountain, he told us not to tell anyone what we had seen until after the Son of Man had been raised from the dead.

We were puzzled about many things. We asked him why the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first. He replied that Elijah had already come, but not been recognised. He had been treated just as people wished and the same would happen to the son of Man.

We realised he was speaking about John the Baptiser, who had been killed. Later we linked what we had heard on the mountain to Jesus’ baptism by John, when there was also a voice from heaven.

We didn’t have more chance to talk as Jesus had to help the other disciples straight away; there was a difficult healing they had not managed on their own. We kept his secret until after he had died and been raised form the dead.

Moses received the Law whereas Elijah and John the Baptiser were prophets, so this was an endorsement of Jesus’ statement that he was fulfilling the Law and the prophets.

My retelling of this story of the transfiguration is based on Matthew 17: 1-23

Matthew 3:17 and Matthew 17:5 God speaks of Jesus as his son whom he loves.

Book review of Recital of Love by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

At the beginning of September I read Recital of Love: Sacred Receivings on my phone as the author Keren Dibbens-Wyatt had sent me a pdf file to review. The book was published as a hardback on 8th September, by which time I had already read and enjoyed it. In fact I was sorry when I reached the end of this unusual book.

I have not met Keren, who is housebound.  We have connected in a Facebook group for Christian Writers.

In Recital of Love Keren’s images of God’s love reflected in the natural world are described in beautiful prose. I found it calming, challenging and exciting. The chapters are short making this an ideal book to dip into perhaps before sleep. It is a book worth reading and rereading.

The content was inspired through contemplative prayer. She does not claim infallibility and refers readers to the Bible.

An excerpt from Recital of Love appears in a guest post Keren wrote.

In the UK it is available from Eden if you do not have a local Christian bookshop.

For an index to all the books I have reviewed online please click here.


Theme reveal for the 2020 A to Z in April Challenge

For this year’s Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I am looking at the Easter story. The Easter story might be described as the best story about Love ever told. John 10:17-18

The date when Easter is celebrated changes each year. This year Easter Day is 12th April for the western Church and 19th April for the Eastern Orthodox Church. This makes Easter topical during the challenge. (In some years it is celebrated in March.)

The whole story of Easter is told by four different writers in the New Testament of the Bible. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John describe the events from different viewpoints, writing for different readerships. The four accounts in the New Testament are Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 12-16 (Jesus teaching before his trial and execution) and John 17-21. (The central part of the Easter story and evidence for the resurrection)

I hope that you, dear reader, will read these accounts whether or not you are already familiar with them. May you know the Love, peace and joy, which Easter brings.

For each letter I am picking out one or more significant words in the story. Each post will link back to this one for the links to the passages of scripture. All the Bible references are linked to Bible Gateway

Thanks to Arlee Bird for founding the challenge and keeping it going. Also to Jeremy Hawkins for the badges and all the A to Z team.

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