Believe it or not - when I first read this chapter on my own as a freshman at Michigan State ... I was furious. You see, I thought Paul was being sarcastic - and I wasn't having any of that. When I figured out that Paul was actually being serious though - I memorized the whole chapter. The idea that this could be the standard of how we love each other just grabbed my imagination.
Then one day - much later - it dawned on me that while Paul is teaching us how to love one another - he's really revealing God's love for us. In fact - I think it's even possible that Paul realized that this was how Jesus loved him - despite everything that he'd done to suppress the growth of the early church. Maybe that realization was what fueled all those missionary journeys?
For now though - how do you see this love that Paul's describing manifest in your life? Which of these first three verses speaks to you most powerfully - or is your favorite? If the grand gestures of self-sacrificial devotion pale in comparison to love itself - what is the value of such acts? What's the value of love? Which is easier to do or the bigger sacrifice day after day - year after year? How do we live by Paul's words on love?