I want to talk about LOVE.
No, not the eros, or romantic love. The love that I want to discuss is an agape love.
Agape, or the love that Christ-followers have for each other, is messy. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 says this about love :
4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. ”
This is probably the most-used Scripture for weddings. Yet for me, St Paul is describing a deep love that occurs between two people who are united in Christ.
Love is also messy. One of the costs of loving people as Jesus loved His disciples is that the love will be messy. Those of us who are sensitive are especially prone to the messiness that is the agape love that Jesus models for His disciples.
When we love as Jesus loves, we are not ” fair weather friends” Love calls us to walk with others both through celebrations and sorrows that are part of the human experience. When those we love rejoice, we rejoice with them. When they feel sorrow– we also feel sorrow.
St Paul said ” Love never fails” , and if we love the way that Jesus loved, we willingly accept that loving someone is not a part-time commitment. Love calls us to be present with people during times when they might not be at their best. Love calls us to walk with others while they are going through a life transition; allowing them time and space to just ” be” . Love calls us to allow someone else to grow into their authentic selves– even if their authenticity confuses us.
Love calls us to recognize that humans are messy creatures. Go knew this, and yet God still chose to become human. In Jesus, God became intimately familiar with the joys and sorrows of living as an authentic human. Because of Jesus, God knows that love is , in addition to all the attributes that St Paul lists, also messy and costly.
Loving people is hard and costly. But love, the kind of love that God showed us in the Person of Jesus, is one of the blessings of being human.
In the Name of the Creator, Redeemer, ands Sustainer.