A Word From the Pastor
Pastor, Rob Allen
...but the greatest of these is Love
We are in the month that is known for love as we quickly approach Valentine's Day, we will see heart-shaped boxes of candy go on sale. Commercials from jewelry stores will overwhelm the airwaves on TV and radio (yes, some of us still listen to the radio). In those displays we will be told, without words, that the only way we can show love is by purchasing gifts for friends, family members and/or for that special someone.
Well to quote Paul, hogwash. No, nowhere in the Bible did Paul ever say hogwash, but based on the attitude and lack of patience he displayed, I can only imagine that he might say that and even more. In the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, he describes love in this way:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one's achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat for it never gives up.
As to the point, straight forward, impatient and sarcastic as the Apostle Paul can be in his letters, he seems to offer us an amazing description of what love should look like. Not Eros (romantic love) or Philia (affectionate love) although I believe we should find many, if not all, of these characteristics in that type of love. No, what he is offering to us is a description of the love God has for us and the type of love that we should have for one another - that is agape and pragma (or unconditional and enduring) love.As we see love defined in this way, I wonder how we might be able to share this with those around us? In what ways can we offer an enduring, unconditional love to our friends, our family members our neighbors and even the strangers among us? There are so many ways; quietly lifting someone up in prayer rather than saying something mean behind their back, or casting judgement on a situation for which we do not have all the information. Offering to help someone rather than walking by. Forgiving someone, inviting someone to join you for dinner, to come to praise team or choir practice. This list could go on for a while, but I wonder what could you put down, more importantly, what could you do to show that love?
In the lobby will be a basket and some heartshaped sheets of paper. As you find new and innovative ways to show people the love God has for us - unconditional and enduring - I challenge you to write it down on that paper. One sentence, and it doesn't have to be signed. As we have examples, we will read them on Sunday mornings because as the Apostle Paul wrote "the most important is love".