Not long ago while attending a retreat, another group on retreat asked me to give a meditation during their morning worship. My first thought was, “I don’t even know you or your group, so why would you ask me?” I was informed that knowing me did not matter; I was a priest and that was what they wanted.
I took their worship booklet and looked at the reading selected for the service. It was from Paul’s second letter to the Church at Corinth.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
these things, and countless more besides, can love us back. This is not true love. We would be more accurate if we used words such as I really like, I enjoy, I delight in any of the above.
True love must be between two people or at least two living entities. I know that Nancy loves me and that I love her. I love my children and grandchildren. I know that my cat loves me and I love her. I know that I am loved by you, the people of St. David’s, and in return I hope you know I love you.
And then, there is God. Scripture tells us that God loved His creation and gave us everything we needed. For a time our love of God was perfect and we lived in paradise. Due to our disobedience, we lost paradise, but we never lost the love of God. Again and again throughout history, God showed his love toward us. In time the greatest example of God’s unbounded love was God sending Jesus. The true depth of that love was made abundantly clear on the cross. The resurrection was the exclamation point of God’s love.
We are called to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Right now the world really needs our love. There are people everywhere hurting and outcast. There are people excluded based solely on the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their religion, the place of their birth. Love calls us to look beyond all that to see the person as God sees them. Only by doing so will we know and experience true love.
May God always bless and keep you.
With Deepest Affection,