My An Arkie's Faith column from the January 27, 2021, issue of The Polk County Pulse.
In 1966, the television producer, Aubrey Singer, brought a bold new idea to the British Broadcasting Corporation. He was interested in the latest satellite technology emerging during the space race. He suggested a live international satellite program with participation from many countries. After ten months of organizing, negotiating, and technological hurdles, the production was broadcast live on June 25, 1967.
The program was titled Our World and included creative artists from nineteen countries. The show’s ground rules were that everything had to be live without videotape or film. It would not involve politicians or heads of state. Over ten thousand technicians, producers, and interpreters took part in the broadcast. It was an undertaking of incredible complexity, involving control rooms worldwide, three geostationary communication satellites, and almost a million miles of cable. Fourteen countries participated in the production, which producers transmitted to 31 countries on every continent but Antarctica. Over 400 million people watched the program.
Creative artists, including The Beatles, opera singer Maria Callas, The Vienna Boys Choir, and painter Pablo Picasso, appeared in separate segments featuring their respective countries. The portion of the program from the United Kingdom starred The Beatles. Our World producers asked The Beatles to provide a song with a message easily understood by everyone, using basic English. John Lennon’s lyrics were deliberately simplistic to allow for the show’s international audience. The Beatles performed their song, All You Need Is Love, to close the broadcast.
I can still remember the summer of 1967. It became known as the Summer of Love, and the single All You Need Is Love by The Beatles was the anthem. Just like other kids from around the world, I loved the song. It seemed that everyone knew the simple chorus. “All you need is love. All you need is love. All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”
Is there any truth to the catchphrase, all you need is love? Or is it just a silly pop song? I believe that it is the truth. “All you need Is love. Love is all you need.” In 1 John 4:7,8 (NCV), the Bible tells us, “Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Love should be the basis for everything we do. In his gospel, Matthew recounts a story where an expert in the law asked Jesus, “which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT) When you distill it down that much, it seems simple. It is true; all you need is love.
God has written a love letter to you called the Bible. It says, “I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 8:38,39 (CEV) How would you feel if you wrote these beautiful words to the love of your life, but they ignored them? God’s Word, The Bible, is His love letter to us. Don’t leave your love letter unopened and unread. God loves you, and he wants to tell you just how much. Open his love letter and listen to what he has to say to you.
The greatest love poem found in the Bible is in John 3:16,17 (NKJV). “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” What beautiful words. We need to keep in mind that God loves the world, not a single nation, not a single race. Not just the good people, not only the people who love God back. “God so loved the world.” The people God loves include the lovable and the unlovable; those who are popular, and those who have no one else to love them; the ones who love God and those who never think of God.
In 1 Corinthians 13 (NLT), Paul expresses the importance of love to the Christian. “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing… Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
Unfortunately, I have noticed that we Christians often don’t show love to others. We are slow to listen but quick to speak and get angry. Angry Christians fill my social media feeds. But Jesus challenged us to love others, even our enemies. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-45 (NCV)
Gentle Reader, remember that God loves the world, the entire world. Henri Nouwen wrote, “For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved.” Jesus tells us that no matter what we do for Him, it is nothing if we don’t have love. You see, it really is true. All you need Is love.