Across the Pastor’s Desk: Love is the reason for existence

Published 9:30 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Sean Forde

Sean Forde


An excerpt from my upcoming book, “A Hope, Skip, and Jump through the Psalms.”

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Psalm 35:5: “The earth is full of his unfailing love.”

One can definitely take issue with the psalmist saying, the earth is full of his unfailing love. As we look out into the world, we see many places where love is failing: in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, in our churches, in our community, in our nation and throughout the world. So, to see this truth, one does not need rose-colored glasses, but the psalmist is asking us to take a closer look at our world to uncover this truth. 

What is unfailing is God’s love contained within God’s word. God’s word made the earth and all that is in it, and try as we might to destroy it, it is still here and present for us to see, to experience and to enjoy. This truth in itself is nothing short of the love of God present in all creation. Even though we severely pollute the land, remarkably the land still produces vegetation — enough to feed us and all the animals relying on it. Even though we severely pollute the sea, remarkably the seas still teams with life — enough to feed us and all the animals relying on it. Even though we severely pollute the skies, remarkably the skies still team with life — enough to feed us and all the animals relying on it. We are called to be better stewards of God’s creation, to preserve more than we destroy. However, you have to have eyes to see that the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Let’s get back to the failures that we do see so easily in the world, the failings that we notice when we look out into our homes, schools, workplaces, churches, community and nation. These failings are not because of God’s failing love — but because of our failure to love. That’s been the diagnosis from the beginning; God’s love does not fail. We fail to love God, the earth and our neighbors as ourselves.

The psalmist provides a solution to the many failings we see in the world, a remedy for those willing to accept it. He says, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.” This remedy is simple, we start with fear and love of the Lord. This is what Martin Luther pointed to as he started each explanation of the Ten Commandments. Lutherans throughout the ages are familiar with Martin Luther’s question, “What does this mean?” And we are familiar with how he answered each question with, “We should fear and love God so that….” Both the psalmist and Luther knew that once we start fearing and loving the Lord that this would dictate the rest of our actions. They knew that truly loving God means truly loving His creation and your neighbor. Love is the reason for our existence, without it we fail, humanity fails, families fail, communities fail and nations fail.

The psalmist words are as true today as when they were first written. The eternal and loving nature of the Lord is on full display for us each day. “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” The amazing thing is that both are standing firm! God’s word, and what is made by it in creation, are both still standing firm, both unfailing, both sustaining and both declaring God’s love for us. I hope you can fully grasp both, because both God’s word and God’s creation belong to you.

Sean Forde is associate pastor at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.