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. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8a
Love demands relationship. The very meaning of love requires relationship. Without an other there is no love. This truth may appear quite simplistic, obvious even, but often we operate very much in a manner that overlooks, forgets, or negates an other. Everything about Paul’s words requires followers of Christ regard an other in a way that does not require an establishment of status or a placement of worth. Living this way is anything but simplistic, requiring great and ongoing dedication.
When Jesus recited the first part of the Sh’ma as the first part of his Great Commandment, he emphasized the importance of starting all relationships first with God. “Love the Lord with all your heart, with all you soul, and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5 Love, be in relationship with, God. His disciples would have recited this law every morning on waking and every evening before going to sleep. Paul would have as well. It is a humbling commandment. Love the One who created all things, including you. Love the One who knows all things, even those hidden things within you. It is a humbling love.
And it is only out of this love that we can love an other as our self. Only this love awakens us to both the great strengths and the vulnerabilities of everyone pointing us every towards patience, kindness and truth.
May we be bold in our love!
Janet Stilwell, Associate Pastor Wildwood UMC