Love is the Word


Jeremiah 1:4-10 + Psalm 71:1-6 + I Corinthians 13:1-13 + Luke 4:21-30

You may have noticed by now that our Presiding Bishop is big on love. PB Curry is constantly talking about the love of God in Jesus. A favorite saying of his is, “if it’s not about love, then it’s not about Jesus.” Our Presiding Bishop has said this time and time again: at Episcopal Church gatherings, on the national news, on the radio, and (most famously) at the wedding of Harry and Megan.

What ++Michael is saying is not new news. Jesus Himself told his disciples that the world would know that they belong to Him by their love (John 13:34-35). And the Apostle Paul talks poetically about love in his “ode to love." We are used to hearing Paul’s words from I Corinthians at weddings. Many couples find inspiration and encouragement from Paul as they begin their new lives together.

However, Paul is not just talking about romantic love. Paul is describing the kind of love and compassion that should typify our interactions with others. This is the kind of love that puts the needs and concerns of others before self. Last week I reminded us that we are all called to reflect God’s love, light, and hope. That is what Paul is talking about here.

As our friends at Thistle Farms and Bravely/ St. Louis remind us, love is brave. Love is courageous. Hatred, bitterness, and revenge are easier options. Choosing to love is by far harder. Love, as described by Jesus and Paul, makes one vulnerable. Our love, and our self, can be rejected or abused. . . and often it is. Yes, love is truly the tougher choice.

The other day, Hickman Alexandre (a seminary class mate of mine), posted the following quote on his FB account. I share it because it is a word on target for me and you today:

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all, in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” Mother Theresa

Love is taking time from a busy schedule to mentor an at-risk student.

Love is listening to the life stories of our friends at Loaves and Fishes.

Love is using your shovel or snowblower at your neighbor’s house.

Love is doing what you can, where you are, to make the world a better place each day.

“Hatred and bitterness can never

cure the disease of fear.

Only love can do that.”