When you think about the writings of the Apostle Paul, what do you think of? Maybe what you think about when you think about Paul’s writings is what he wrote about love. Wait, isn’t John the one that writes about love—“God is love?” Paul writes quite a bit about love—and in more places than in 1 Corinthians 13.
When Paul writes about love, he doesn’t write about it as an abstract (cue your The Princess Bride memories). Paul doesn’t write about it romantically—he writes about the love that begins in God’s heart for us and shows itself in Christ. When Paul writes about “love” he generally talks about what it does (or doesn’t do). Love is active.
Listen to Romans 12: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.” He writes these words to explain what living our lives as “living sacrifices” looks like. It looks like a “Jesus-shaped” life. A life Jesus has shaped and is shaping.
When Paul Writes about “love” he generally talks about what it does (or doesn’t do).
We’ve been talking since the beginning of January about our four mission “directions” for 2019. One of those focuses on building or rebuilding the caring networks within our congregation. This year, we’re going to look at tending the garden of our small groups and adding a couple of other ways we can care for one another. The “Jesus-shaped” life has two foci—to give glory to God and to serve/love our neighbor in Jesus’ love.
February is a month on the calendar we think about love. The first Sunday in February focuses on 1 Corinthians 13. (Do you think maybe God was planning ahead?) I would like to gather some folks together to care for our members of our faith community. So, I’d like to gather those interested in serving as an Evangelism Team—following up with visitors to our worship services and events and, perhaps, our interested preschool families—to meet after the second service on Sunday, February 24 in the Fellowship Hall to get things started.
I’d also like to gather those folks interested in learning how to support people going through difficult times—let’s call it the Empathy Team for the time being. These folks would get some training to lend emotional support but also would provide other kinds of support (maybe meals when someone goes into the hospital, etc.). The organizational meeting of the Empathy Team will be Wednesday, February 27 at 7pm in the Fellowship Hall.
God is already working through some of you to be a blessing to our visitors and our hurting folks. Let’s ask Him to bless our efforts to pull it together and love one another.
Joy in the journey,
Pastor Jeff Shearier