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Today we consider one of the Wonderful Words of Life: Love.
In 1st Corinthians 13 St. Paul gives us his definition of love. He writes:
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends… So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Why is love the greatest? Two reasons.
First, because love reveals the heart. The apostle writes:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Second, love is superior to faith and hope because it more enduring.
“We rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” That is Romans 5:2. “(But) hope that is seen is not hope. We hope for what we do not see, and we wait for it with patience.” That is Romans 8:24. Likewise, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” That is Hebrews 11:1. But the day is coming when faith will give way to sight, and we will stand in the more immediate presence of God. And, as we read not once, but twice in 1st John 4, “God is love.”
Before the foundation of the world God existed in perfect love, a harmony between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God created the Cosmos not out of necessity, but out of a desire to share that love. The ultimate expression of Gods love is found in John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus spoke of the importance of love. In Matthew 22:37-40 a young lawyer ask him which is the first and great commandment, and Jesus said to him:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mindThis is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.
And in Romans 5:5, St. Paul reminds believers that, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts thought the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.”
Finally, on Memorial Day, we remember those Americans who gave the last full measure for their country–and their brothers & sisters in arms. And we remember how Jesus said, “Greater love hath no one than this, that one lays down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Prayer: We are experiencing this pandemic in so many ways. It will build the faith of some, and devastate the faith of others. Give us spiritual insight to understand that you. O, Lord, are close to us, and care about us even when you seem far away. Even Jesus knew the angst of feeling abandoned, as when he cried, “Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani.” You rescued him from death. Rescue us in death, and in life. We make our prayer in the name of him who taught us to pray:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Worth Green, Th.M., D.Min.