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February Message From the Pastor

St. Valentine’s Day approaches. Love is in the air. Time to buy flowers for mom, candy for my daughters, and jewelry for my wife. I can hear all the love songs in my mind:

“Love, love, love – do, dododo, do. All you need is love” 

“What the world needs now, is love sweet love” 

or my favorite “Love means you never have to say your sorry.” 

Sure, that’s right! Love means you will say, “I’m sorry.” many times. But the worldly approach to love is often sappy and idealistic.

 

So what does the Bible suggest love is? I Corinthians 13 tell us:

      Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

         Love never fails.

In my experience, this is the most frequently selected passage for weddings. Again and again brides and grooms tell me that these words exemplify their love. They see these words as reflecting their relationship to one another. But is that true? Is that even possible?

Try a little exercise. Replace the word love with your own name. Is the result a true statement? Doug is patient, Doug is kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. He is not rude, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. Doug does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Doug never fails.

Few of us can get past the first statement, “I am patient” let alone the last, “I never fail”. We simply do not live the life of love suggested by Paul’s letter. Rather we fail and fall short again and again. So can love exist in the world? Is there any hope?

Yes! Try replacing your name with the name of Jesus. Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. He is not rude, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Jesus never fails.

Now that works. What we cannot do, God can do. This beautiful statement about love does not reflect you or me. It speaks of God. Further, while by our own abilities we cannot love as God does, the message of the Gospel is that filled by the Holy Spirit we too can reflect God’s love to the world.

So, as St. Valentine’s Day approaches, remember that if you wish to love those around you – if you want to be in the kind of relationship God intended – you must first allow the Holy Spirit to fill your heart and take control of your life. Then and only then will you truly know love as God intended it.

 

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Jones

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