Sacrificial love

Photo: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock
Published April 1, 2019

Jesus, in his life, death and resurrection, is the centre point of Creation and history. He is unique in a way that no other event or person is unique. The arc of his life—still unfolding before us as we await the Second Coming—provides meaning to all things. In his story we encounter something new and, in one way, completely unrepeatable.

In other ways, however, we can say that this is the story of every moment and particle of Creation. As Paul explains (see especially Ephesians 1 and Colossians 1), the deep meaning of Creation was hidden, but God has chosen to reveal in the story of Jesus the full meaning and purpose of life—the trajectory and God’s movement in history and Creation towards New Life. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are not only unique moments in history, they also present the inner workings of all moments. The story of Jesus reveals aspects of life that are often obscured and lost to our view; it is as much a part of the mundane and everyday as it is of events that tower over history.

Though there are many aspects to this revelation of the presence of God in the mundane, there is one that stands out for me. It is something that the teaching of Indigenous elders and Indigenous stories have highlighted for me in a prophetic way. I speak here of the aspect of the centre point of history that can be described as sacrificial love.

Sacrificial love is found in all things, all elements of Creation, and at the heart of all that is life giving. From birth to death, all creatures find their purpose, meaning and hope in sacrificial love. It is found in parents and grandparents, loved ones and friends, and the many aspects of Creation that give life to us in sacrificial love, as in the plants and animals that are the food that makes our life possible. Without sacrificial love—both in the giving and receiving—there is no joy and no fulfillment. Though much of modern life and its values obscure it, the depth and height of life in Creation is found in sacrificial love, so perfectly phrased in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.


  • Mark MacDonald

    Mark MacDonald was national Indigenous Anglican bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019, and national Indigenous Anglican archbishop from 2019 to 2022.

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