Not in Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm, Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Jesus’ resurrection guarantees us that the Lord we serve is immortal. More than that, it promises that he has made us immortal. If that is so, what can anyone one earth do to us? Kill us? And then what? We just come back to life later anyway. They haven’t done anything! Ridicule and persecute us? And what do we care? For our Friend we claim the Giver of life and the Destroyer of death. Do they know more than the One who made everything, who proved himself by dying and taking his life back again, and now rules all from heaven? Here at Jesus’ resurrection we have strength for all our trials. Here at Jesus’ resurrection we have the answer to all our skeptics, every crisis of faith. When they dig up Jesus’ dead body, we will be afraid. But since we know the tomb is empty, “…stand firm. Let nothing move you.” The one who puts his trust in him will never be put to shame.

Instead of fear, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.” Isn’t that what the life of faith looks like in light of the resurrection? Martin Luther once said it this way, “Faith…makes us altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Spirit. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith; and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises; it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them.”

Why live such an active life doing the work of the Lord? Because, when you see your life through the lense of Jesus’ resurrection, “…you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” It may be a labor at times, that is true. The work may be hard. One old pastor once commented that the closest a pastor ever gets to knowing the pain of childbirth is in the pain of giving birth to his sermons. Of course, how would he know? He was a man. The point is, all our work for the Lord may be hard work–from preaching, to witnessing, to attending meetings, to paying for it all. Jesus’ earthly work was labor, too.        

But it is not in vain. It is never empty or useless, even if it seems hard or frustrating. The power that raised Christ from the dead, the power that someday will raise each one of us from the dead, stands behind it all. The victory is all on our side. Maybe the game keeps going because there is still time on the clock, but the score is infinitely out of reach for the other side. We have won. Our service to the Lord only helps to expand the count of souls who will share in our Savior’s victory.

Keep working hard, friends. Your living Lord and his empty tomb are proof that it is worth it.

The Victorious Christian Life (to come)

1 Corinthians 15:54-56 “‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Why should youth turn to age? Why should strength fade to weakness? Why should life give way to death? A research scientist I once knew said that human science still cannot explain why cells, that once repaired and replaced themselves so efficiently as our bodies grew and we matured, lose their ability to keep us at the top of our powers as the years pass.

            But Paul knew. “The sting of death is sin.” Sin is the poison that infects us and brings us bitter death. Sin is the sting, even if it doesn’t look the part. It camouflages itself as pleasure. But like the shiny red apple the witch-queen brings to Snow White in the fairytale, the pleasure is only an illusion. Death is the reality, a reality that overtakes us all.

            Sin itself gets its power from the law. Where there is no command, no law, there is nothing to break, no sin to commit. But wherever God reveals his law, sin sees its opportunity. We break the command, God imposes the penalty, and we die…

            Until God himself gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what Jesus’ resurrection is all about, isn’t it? It is the proof of Christ’s victory. His body drew all the venom, all the poison of every sin committed by every sinner into itself. He died a thousand deaths, a million deaths, billions and billions of deaths, when he died the deaths of all humanity for the sins of all humanity at the cross. All the venom, all the poison was spent on him until sin and death themselves were spent, at the very end of their power, and he died.

            But then he takes his life back again. Sin and death have nothing left to stop him. He is the victor! Isn’t that why we crown him the King of Kings and Lord of all? And then, incredibly, the Lord of all, the Easter victor that we worship, turns around and hands his victory to his people. He promises the same life from the dead to every one of us. See your life in the light of his resurrection, and you can see the victorious life that is coming after death.

Change We Can Embrace

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

Change is often difficult for us. Bible-believing, conservative Christians are accustomed to being suspicious of change. We sing in the hymn, “Change and decay in all around I see, Oh, Thou who changest not, abide with me!” Because too often we see change move in the wrong direction. We have been holding the line against attempts to change God’s word and promises. It makes us an ever shrinking minority who still believe in moral absolutes, who still believe in grace and faith alone, who still believe in the eternal promise of Easter day!

Sometimes, even change for the positive feels slow and painful–overcoming a serious addiction, fixing a broken relationship, repenting of our own faults and failings. We are tempted to adopt a position that blindly says, “If it means change, I am against it!” But then we would be closing ourselves to the God whose call to repentance calls us to change every day.

In the resurrection, our Lord shows us change to which we can happily agree. Nothing slow or painful here. It all happens “in a flash.” For “flash” Paul uses the Greek word from which we get our word “atom.” It refers to something so small that it can no longer be cut or divided. It is as small as can be conceived. In this briefest moment in time we will be changed instantaneously. You can run the slow motion video, but you will look in vain to see any series of transitions. One moment dead, the next alive. One moment corrupt and earthly, the next moment pure and heavenly. No years of purgatory to suffer through to get there, either. It all happens “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”

There is nothing negative to fear about this change. The life that is coming is the very opposite of decay. “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

In the resurrection, we will all be imperishable. Every trip to the doctor or dentist reminds me how much I am like the spoiling fruit sitting on our kitchen counter. In my case, the pace is just much slower. Comparing photos old and new reveals lines that didn’t used to be there, hair that has gotten silver in places. At least the hair is still hanging on to the same real estate! Now we are perishable, mortal, and the evidence is all around us all the time.

But we will be raised imperishable, immortal! More amazing than going out to the compost pile behind my garage, picking out what used to be an orange–now covered in green and white mold, its fruity flesh now a brown, stinking, oozing mush–and making it somehow firm and sweet and edible again, God will pluck our bodies from their graves, in whatever state of decay. Instantly we will be stronger, healthier, more beautiful, and more intelligent than we were at the peak of our youth and the height of our earthly powers. More than that, our hearts and souls will be so saturated with holy love that we will be capable of nothing but goodness and kindness for the eternity of life the resurrection brings us.

Raised To Declare His Divinity

Romans 1:1-4 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who as to his spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The truth that Paul shares with us in this verse may be the forgotten lesson of Jesus’ resurrection. We tend to stress the fact that, because Jesus has risen from the dead, we know that the Father accepted his sacrifice. His effort to pay for our sins was successful. More than that, we draw the conclusion that since Jesus is alive and our sins are paid for, someday we will rise from the dead, too. These things certainly deserve to be emphasized.

But Jesus’ resurrection is also the miracle of miracles. A handful of other people have been raised back to life from the dead throughout history, only to die again. Only Jesus raised himself from the dead, and only he has risen to a new kind of life that never ends.

That makes a powerful statement about who Jesus is. No mere man could bring himself back to life. Jesus is the Son of God. The resurrection doesn’t make him the Son of God. It makes his divinity clear to see. It puts a big exclamation point on the truth that our Savior Jesus is also our God.

 How does that truth help to put the “good news” in our gospel? Just look at the ramifications:

1) If Jesus is God, then his work, his life, his death, have infinite value. I can be sure that my sins are covered.
2) If Jesus is God, then you and I can put our utter trust in him. What he tells us we can believe with complete confidence. How he treats us we can receive certain that he is taking care of us.
3) If Jesus is God, then getting to know him means we are getting to know God. And what is the picture we see when we look at Jesus? Someone who loves us passionately. Someone who is caring, kind, gentle, and approachable. Yet someone who is strong, steady, and upright. What more could you want on your side?
4) The last phrase of this verse calls him “Jesus Christ our Lord.” When people say things like, “Jesus is my Lord,” they are often thinking of the obedience they owe to him. But a Lord is also a protector, isn’t he? If our Lord is our God, then you and I are utterly safe.
5) If Jesus is God, then we can be sure that we are in the right place whenever we are following him. If Jesus is God, then all the news for us is only good.

The heart of the Christian faith is not a list of principles or a way of life. It is a person, promised by prophets, descended from David, and declared to be God by his resurrection from the dead. The news is good, dear friends.

Perfect Even in Death

John 19:32-34 “The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”

Over Fourteen hundred years earlier God had given Moses instructions about how Passover lambs were to be chosen and treated. They had to be year old males, males in the prime of their lives, without blemish. As the lambs were sacrificed and prepared, their bodies must be kept intact. No bones were to be broken. These sacrificial lambs were to be perfect in every way. After all, God was accepting these animals in place of the lives of the first-born sons of the people of Israel. For such an exchange he was not satisfied with second-rate, crippled animals. He demanded the best.

On this Passover, Jesus himself was the sacrificial lamb, offered up in the prime of his life in exchange for the lives of all Israel, and all people. After all the abuse his body had taken over the past 24 hours, the point of his legs not being broken could easily be lost on us. But God was making a statement here: this Son of his was the perfect Passover Lamb. Even in death his bones remained intact, and he remained fully qualified to give his life in exchange for ours as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Since the soldiers weren’t going to break Jesus’ legs, they looked for another way to be sure of his death. The point of the spear was likely pressed against his body just below his rib cage, and then thrust up into his chest and through his heart. The sudden flow of blood and water which the John saw would be consistent with the spear piercing the pericardium, the sack around the heart, and then the heart itself. Thus the last blood which Jesus shed for us flowed directly from his very heart.

For John and the women who witnessed all this, the piercing of Jesus’ side was the final blow. If there had been any hope up to this point that Jesus had not died, but merely passed out on the cross, now it was gone. The spear removed all doubt that Jesus was dead.

But Jesus had to die if he was going to be the perfect sacrifice for you, and for me, and for our world. He did not come to be merely a great moral example, or a great moral teacher. He came “to give his life as a ransom for many.” Those are his own words. The wages of our sin is death, and the blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side confirm that Jesus has died, just as we needed him to do.

Can a dead man still love you? Maybe we find it unsettling, even frightening, to realize that, in Jesus’ death, God has died. But even in death this God is infinitely powerful. And more important, even in death, his love for you continues unwavering and unimpaired. He is perfect for you, even in his death.

The Full Extent of His Love

John 13:1 “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

Jesus’ love was not isolated incidents of love scattered here and there in his life. His entire earthly journey from conception to death was an unbroken stream of love flowing to everyone whose life he touched. In so many ways, the love he displayed was remarkable.

Take his love for his family. How often don’t our families suffer tension when one member tries to insert himself into another member’s business. Parents don’t know when to let their adult children live their own lives. Siblings, always competing to be the leader, can’t stop telling each other what to do. And how do we react when our own life is the one in which they are meddling? Do we “pop off” with choice words? Do we give them 6 months of the silent treatment? Do relationships become less than warm and loving?

At the wedding at Cana, Mary goes to Jesus for miraculous intervention when the wine runs low. She inserts herself into his Messianic business. That is no small place to be meddling! Though Jesus mildly rebukes her for involving him and ignoring his own timing, his love for her is undimmed. He goes ahead and solves the problem with 120 gallons of the finest wine anyone has ever tasted. That same deep regard and unwavering love for her will remain constant through his last hours on the cross, when he gives her the Apostle John to care for her after he is gone.

Consider his love for his enemies. When the Pharisees weren’t publicly accusing him of sin for being kind to people, they were trying to trap him in his words, slandering him behind his back, even plotting his death. Under similar circumstances, would you or I give people treating us like that a chance? Yet Jesus accepts dinner invitations from prominent Pharisee, critics of his who watch and wait for Jesus to slip. When a self-righteous young leader in search of eternal life tells Jesus with a straight face that he has kept all the commandments, Mark tells us, “Jesus looked at him and loved him,” before he shows the man that he hasn’t even kept the very first one.

Then there is his love for the sick and the outcast. Look closely at his healing of the leper. See his love reaching out to touch the contagious man. He shows him affection no one dared offer him for years before taking his leprosy away. Look closely at Jesus healing the deaf mute. See his love taking this dazed man away from the crowd, touching his ears and tongue to communicate what he was about to do. He cares for this man as an individual, and gives him his full attention, before performing the miracle that restores his speech and hearing. The miracles of mercy are love in themselves. But on top of this Jesus shows these people a dignity often missing in our treatment of people who are not physically perfect in every way.

“Having loved his own who were in the world…” Jesus already loved them. He already loves us. But he wanted them to have something more. He wanted them to have something more than an example of love to follow– a picture of what love looks like when we are called on to deal with the flawed people around us. He wanted them to have something more than stories that rekindle our faith in human kindness and hold out the hope that someone might care about us as well. Godly examples and warm feelings may make us feel spiritual, but they leave us just as lost as we are without them. He wanted us to have something more than anything that stopped short of full freedom from sin, souls reconciled to God, and certainty of unending life on the other side of death.

Don’t misunderstand. Already this life of love he lived was more. It was all part of the formula of our salvation. It was paying up the debt of love we owed, offering God the life of love his law demands on our behalf.

But now Jesus wanted to show them, and us, the full extent of his love. We find it on a bloody cross, and at an empty tomb. And it began here, in an upper room, where Jesus gathered with his disciples to celebrate a last Passover, and give them an even greater feast offering the tangible tokens of his love.

Jesus Has Risen Higher

Philippians 2:8-11 “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”

There once was a cynical bumper sticker about the power of Microsoft Corporation, “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.” Whether or not one agrees, the power of one of the wealthiest companies on the planet is easy for people to see.

After sinking to the depths of crucifixion and death, the power of Jesus is not so clear for people to see. There are preachers who will choose their words very carefully this Sunday, because they don’t believe that Jesus is alive. They believe his rotting bones are still buried somewhere in Israel. There are others, like deceased atheist Madeline Murray-O’Hare, who claim that he never existed at all. (Of course, now she knows better).

While the power of Jesus is not so easy for some to see as the power of our largest corporations, of him it is even more true: “Resistance is futile.” God has exalted him to the highest place. Jesus has come back from the dead. He is not a wispy ghost or vivid memory, but a genuine human body and soul. More than that, God has given him power over all things. The one who once made himself slave of all now has all things as his slaves. He has risen higher than anyone else ever can.

To go along with the greatest promotion ever, God has given him the name that is above every name. This is not a cheesy title like certain arrogant rulers have adopted to make themselves sound more important– “the Great,” “the Magnificent,” “the Terrible.” He is still just “Jesus,” but that name expresses a greatness that far surpasses them all.

Jesus, as may know, means “the Lord saves.” That is the true greatness and glory of our God. It does not lie in how many nations he has conquered, how much wealth he owns, how many people he rules, how large an army he leads, or how many servants attend him (though he takes first place in every one of those categories). His true greatness lies in how much love he has given. Jesus’ greatness is the magnificence of the love that led him to suffer all that we will see him suffer this Holy Week, to set us free from our sins. Jesus’ greatness is the patience of the love that sought unsteady, ungrateful, unattractive, unworthy people like you and me. Jesus’ greatness is the generosity of the love that does this all as a gift. He loved us like this long before our hearts harbored even the faintest beginnings of faltering feelings towards him. It is not just the letters, “J-E-S-U-S,” that give Jesus the name that is above every name. The wonderful story of love attached to his name exalts him as well.

Resistance to that love is futile: “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” One way or another every one of us will bow down and acknowledge that Jesus has risen to a position higher than anyone else ever can. The self-delusion of those who ignore him, or who oppose him, will be stripped away, and they will have no choice but to acknowledge that they were wrong all along. They will bow down in front of Jesus in terror because they scorned his love and despised the gift for which he gave up everything to give them.

But his love has overwhelmed our hearts. It won them to his side, and we will bow down and proclaim him Lord in love and thankfulness. Either way, Jesus is Lord, and we could not find more comfort than knowing that the one who so loved us is the one who now commands the universe.

Jesus Gave Up More

Philippians 2:5-“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

 Jesus was in very nature God. More literally, Paul says that Jesus was in the form of God. In other words, he is emphasizing that Jesus had all the things that make God God. God is almighty. Jesus is almighty. God knows all things. Jesus knows all things. God is present everywhere. Jesus is present everywhere. God is full of divine glory. Jesus is full of divine glory. All the advantages that God enjoys, Jesus enjoyed. It all adds up to Jesus being equal to God. None if this would be possible if Jesus were not God himself.

Think about that for a moment. Many of us dream of reaching the top in our chosen fields or interests. If you enjoy sports, you probably dream of championships. If you are in school, perhaps you set your sights on graduating first in the class. TV shows like American Idol reflect how desperately those who can play or sing covet super stardom. In business, the competition to become president, or board member, or even owner sometimes sinks to the pathetic.

What about being God himself? It’s the oldest temptation there is. “You will be like god,” Satan tempted Eve in the garden of Eden. But that level of power and prestige would certainly come in handy for achieving all our dreams and solving all our problems.

For Jesus, this was not a reach or a position to which he rose. This was where he started. He was in very nature God. He literally had it all, and the whole universe was at his beck and call.

Then what did Jesus do? “He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” Some of you may remember the King James Version on this verse, “He thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” In the Greek, Paul’s words suggest the picture of someone who holds the spoils of war in his hands. Spoils of war are things that soldiers seize and guard closely. Maybe they even show them off as a sort of trophy. I remember my best friend’s father, when I was growing up, showing off some of the spoils he had taken as soldier in World War II. Or picture the way that little children rush in when a piñata is broken, and they clutch the candy in their fists, and then they triumphantly hold their fists up in the air to show what they got.

This was not how Jesus regarded his privileges as God. For him it was not a prize to be closely guarded or put on display. He “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Jesus gave up more than anyone else ever has. He didn’t cease to be God. He didn’t lose his powers, as we see them sprinkled so often throughout his miracles of mercy during his earthly ministry. But he no longer used them to his own advantage. He no longer enjoyed the instant recognition that he was God or the unceasing worship due his divinity.

 In its place, Paul says, Jesus took the nature or form of a servant. Now, everything that a servant is, Jesus was. This is not the kind of dignified butler you might think of when you hear the word “servant,” dressed in a starched white shirt and tails, carrying himself like he is more at home in high society than you are. This is a slave, someone who has no will of his own, someone who occupies the next to lowest position on the human social scale. Jesus put himself entirely under the heavenly Father’s will while he was here on earth. Even more amazing, he became a slave to us, entirely giving up his life to the service of you and me.

In that slavery to our needs Jesus sank to the lowest position possible. “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” Only the lowest criminals died on crosses. Even ordinary citizens who committed cold-blooded, premeditated murder could not be crucified. This is Jesus at his most un-godlike. The gap between the glory he once enjoyed in heaven and the shame he endured on the cross is the greatest difference, the greatest descent possible for any sentient being. In Jesus’ case it was literally a journey from heaven to hell. This is what Jesus would do to save us: He gave up more than anyone else ever has. Love led him to forsake heaven and endure hell to save us from sin and death.

Getting Judgment Right

Romans 2:1-4 “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

It makes us feel better about ourselves to find someone we think is worse. I once knew a woman who made herself miserable dwelling on two complaints: 1) Everyone is concerned only about themselves and unwilling to help me, and 2) everyone judges me. To her, the whole measure of whether a person was good or bad was based upon what they were willing to do for her. It didn’t matter how much others were inconvenienced or had to sacrifice if she needed the help. It didn’t seem to occur to her that she was just as unwilling to be inconvenienced by or make sacrifices for these same people she asked.

 It’s all around us all the time, one case of the pot calling the kettle black after another. One politician or political party complains about the moral mess created by those in power, only to create their own cesspool of scandal when it is their turn to rule.

We aren’t getting Paul until we see his fingers pointing at us. Survey after survey shows that we Christians are almost indistinguishable from our non-Christian neighbors in behavior and attitudes. We destroy our marriages at the same rate as the world around us. We watch the same trash on television that everyone else does. We abuse alcohol and drugs at about the same rate as the unbelieving world. Research by Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith suggests that there is little or no difference between the belief system (the belief system!) of a typical American Christian teen and his non-Christian counterpart.

The point is not to let us breathe a little sigh of relief because we aren’t worse than everybody else. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” the saying goes. But at least my non-Christian neighbor could plead ignorance in certain cases. I can’t. “Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?”

God’s judgment forces us to give up this self-delusion about how we compare to others. It forces us to admit that we have no real reason for looking down on others. It’s not that we have failed to identify their real sins. It’s just that, time after time, we have shared in those same sins.

What, then, do we deserve? Modern marketers tell us we deserve all kinds of good things. The maker of one pain reliever claims that you deserve headache relief. You would probably be happy to learn that, according to author Jerry Mundis, you deserve to earn more. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I have even learned that I deserve the highest quality janitorial service available.

Romans 2 convinces us that our sins deserve one thing: God’s judgment. But that’s not the life we have experienced. “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” The kindnesses of God in our lives are impossible to enumerate. When I take a breath, it is not the burning, sulfurous atmosphere of hell I inhale. It is air that is pure enough and rich enough to sustain my life a few moments longer. I am surrounded by friends and family who love me. I have lived in a smallish, one-bedroom apartment as well as a 2000 square foot house. Both were pleasant enough places to live. Neither one was the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For the sake of argument, take all of that away, and still God has been tolerant and patient with me in the extreme. Each new sin is still forgiven. He already accounted for it in the infinite payment for sin Jesus provided by his sacrifice on the cross.

I am a believer by God’s grace, though getting my heart and mind in line with God’s own has come slowly. Improvement is unsteady, and eruptions of anger, pride, lust, doubt, impatience, worry, greed, and envy are far more common than I care to admit.

Still, God forgives. Still, he works with me. Still, he isn’t too disgusted or frustrated to claim me as his own. It seems as though his patience is inexhaustible! I can’t help but share David’s observation in Psalm 103, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

This is the repentance to which Paul says God’s kindness wants to lead us–not just regret over our sins, but an awareness of the great grace we have been shown and an unshakeable confidence in the God who has shown us such love.