We apologise that this phrase is a straight lift from the 1960’s Hippy Era. What a tragedy that the phrase does not instantly link to Christianity! However, an obvious question here is “What is Love?”, since the Hippie use of the phrase expressed an obvious double meaning.
English is a very poor language when it comes to talking about Love. The Ancients Greeks were far better equipped. They had at least five words where we often use only one:
Agapay: All-surpassing love, Divine Love, Love of God
Storgay: Family Love
Philia: Love between friends, a love not prompted by family connection or sex
Eros: Romantic Love
It is a mistake to mix these five meanings just because they can all bear translation into the same word in English. When Jesus commands love for enemies in the Sermon on the Mount He uses the highest form of love. Mixing New Testament Greek and English we might render this as:
“Agapay your enemies”
There is an implication here that we cannot love our enemies other than with the Love of God. We cannot love them as family, or as with a romantic attachment, or even perhaps as friends. There needs to be a higher form of Love. And how can we know such Love if we do not know God, as is the case with many? Christians should be different; having experienced the forgiveness and acceptance that comes with the Gospel, regardless of previous wrongdoing and rebellion, they should have an acute awareness of a higher form of love than is normally experienced, and the desire to pass it on.
The Churches, however, when they haven’t been committing their own violence, such as the Catholics in the Crusades or Calvin executing people he disagreed with, are extremely slow to oppose violence and war, apart from the odd mealy-mouthed platitude. That is one of the key reasons why the Churches cannot be seen as a valid expression of Christianity.