Fourth Sunday after Epiphany 2nd Reading 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient, love is kind…
Flash back to any weddings yet? I think sometimes those of us who work in churches roll our eyes at how often this passage gets used in wedding ceremonies, valentines day social media posts, and everywhere surrounding romantic love.
But Paul isn’t talking about romantic love. There’s a word for romantic love in Greek, and that word is eros. Here Paul is talking about agape love. Agape is the love that God has for us, and that we have for God. Its not bound by attraction or mutual affection. Agape is the kind of love that is unconditional, that we can’t earn or deserve, but is freely offered.
Sometimes I see all of the things listed in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians and I think “yeah, that sounds great, but is love really like that? Are we capable of that?”
I truly believe we are. We catch glimpses of Agape love between people all the time, we just need to be paying attention. I asked some social media pals what they think Agape love is, you’ll find some of their answers below, mixed in with my own musings.
When someone stops to help a stranger change a tire, knowing it will be an inconvenience.
Showing up week after week to teach Sunday school when you’ve had it up to your neck, because kids deserve someone who loves them.
Doing the dishes, and not bragging about it.
Opening every cabinet door in the fellowship hall kitchen with a 2nd grader, because he needs to do that with you instead of sitting in children’s church.
Choosing a career that serves others, over the ever driving appeal of wealth.
Giving of oneself.
Not abandoning a teenager who has done everything to push you away.
Sitting at someones bedside, even if they no longer know you are there, or who you are.
Always looking for the good.
Telling your spouse they will go to every inter-generational event at church because those kids are going to know you love them gosh darn it.
The way. The way of God because God is love. If it’s not agape love, it’s not of God.
Ultimately, love is hard. Its hard because we are human, and we are sinners. We mess up, we make each other mad, we hurt feelings, and we break relationships. But luckily, that love that is of God is the way. Its the way back to restoration, the way back to wholeness, the way back to Shalom.
The greatest of these is Love my friends, the greatest of these is Love.