Paul writes some of the most eloquent words on love in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Although these words are often heard at weddings, they were penned, not for romantic love, but to help a church embroiled in deep conflict, where people had great difficulty loving one another. Of course, we have all been there. We all have challenges with love. Even in the best of circumstances, like family we care for, or our most intimate relationships and friendships, love can be hard to give and share. And yet love defines us. Love defines who we are, how we treat others, and how we are known.
Love also defines us as a church and the way we care for each other and God’s world. Our vision at PVUMC is bold: to be “love that crosses all barriers and embraces all people.” I think of all that separates us in our complicated world. We can be so deeply divided, yet the church through Jesus Christ stands against forces in the world that try to separate us by self-interest, hatred, greed and conflict. We all need help to love. I think what Paul knew only so well it that our human love runs shorts, runs out, runs aground and then we are empty and dry. Through God’s presence in our lives, through the life and gift of Jesus, we find a source of love that can replenish and renew our love. This Sunday, we worship God’s whose love overflows into our lives and faith so we can again be God’s love in action in our world.
Pastor Dave Summers