SUNDAY, MAY 9, 2021 HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to ALL Our Wonderful, Beautiful Mom's Out There:)
Courtland United Church Women would like to each of us to be aware of the United Church's "Women For Change" organization. It is one of the several life-changing organizations your special gifts to Mission & Service this Mother's Day will support. When you give a special Mother's Day gift, you will directly help families in need at home and around the world through education, health clinics, respite care, and safe shelter. Give a gift offline or online at united-church.ca donation. Don't forget to credit your congregation! When you give online, you can send a free e-card to honour, support, remember, or recognize your loved one. Your support changes lives! Thankyou!
Come to Coffee & Conversation:)
Join Pastor Ted WEDNESDAY'S at 10:00am , bring your coffee for great conversations on ZOOM (See Link Below)
Who wrote the song “All You Need Is Love”?
Jesus said these words, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it. “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the laws and all the prophets”
(Jesus quoting Deuteronomy and Leviticus)
LOVE COMES FIRST… EVERYTHING ELSE FOLLOWS….
Love….. Love…… Love…… We are called to love God, ourselves and our neighbour with everything we have, fully, unconditionally, just as God loves us. St. Paul intends to lead us to a better understanding of love and what it means to us as followers of Jesus.
Many people consider 1st Corinthians 13 to be the most beautiful piece of literature in the New Testament, certainly the most beloved.
Who’s been to a wedding recently? (Thanks to Covid-19 not many of us.) Now think back to all the weddings you’ve witnessed in your life time. How many times have you heard Paul’s words about love?
Let’s take a moment and explore the origin and the reason these words were written. In Paul’s time the church at Corinth was just starting out and struggling and becoming and they needed some help.
Some of their issues revealed the following:
- Lovelessness in that church, abuse of spiritual gifts,
- divisions in the church, envy of other people’s gifts
- selfishness, impatience with one another, behaviour that did not honour God or God’s people.
In the preceding chapter in this letter Paul speaks of the spiritual gifts that we have, all uniquely different, but we come together, energized by the Spirit to form the Body of Christ, the church! At the end of chapter 12 he encourages the Corinthian church by saying:
“ But earnestly desire the greater gifts, and now I will show you the most excellent way”…
Which is LOVE. What a perfect recipe for the Body of Christ. the church, us, individuals coming together with gifts, skills, talents to share and energized by the Spirit AND MOTIVATED BY LOVE!!! These words were written to help the people understand that the only way spiritual gifts can be expressed creatively, effectively and joyfully is when Christians are motivated by love.
Let’s take a closer look at chapter 13.
In verses 1 – 3: Paul focuses on the ultimate importance of love in the life of the body, the church. He is saying as the church, if we have the gifts of the Spirit, knowledge, wisdom, faith that can move mountains, if we give all we have to the poor, no matter what we do or claim to do as the church if it’s not done out of love then it’s meaningless, there’s nothing there. It’s empty.
What is it that makes love so powerful and important?
I think we need a clearer definition of love as it applies here.
What Paul is talking about here is agape love. It’s a unique word that 1st century Christians adapted for their own specific use. It defines God’s supernatural love for us. It refers to love that is unconditional, boundless, with no restrictions. Agape Love
There are two other Greek words from the first-century vocabulary of love and are still very much a part of the human condition. The word phileo, means affection…brotherly love, friendship, warmth. It’s a wonderful gift from God too, but it’s a conditional kind of love. Then there’s the word eros, which is physical love, chemistry, sensual attraction to someone else. This too is a great gift in our world but it’s also a conditional kind of love.
But agape stands in stark contrast to phileo and eros in that it is unconditional, and it’s the only kind of love that remains steadfast, that has any real lasting value in human relationships In verses 4 – 7: he talks about the practice of love, love expressed as an activity, love as a verb, love as action. From these verses come the words we so often hear spoken at weddings, wonderful rich words that paint such a beautiful picture of relational foundation,
“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight In evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Paul talks about the permanence of love the endurance, the everlasting nature of love. As all things in life come and go, love will endure. As Paul so beautifully says: “and now these three remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love never fails. Agape is eternal. The world we live in reminds us again and again that human affection often fails, but as we’re learning to love another person with the same unselfish love that God has poured on us, were attempting something that is eternal. Because God is love, and God is eternal.
We live in a world that makes it difficult to keep that straight because this world puts tremendous value on the here-and-now, the transitory, the physical, and material reality. Our commitment to this Agape love seems silly to the world around us.
But when everything that seem permanent is gone – the buildings that we’ve built, the vocations, the programs, the budgets, the bureaucracies, everything you can think of—the love the love of God will endure forever.
Several years ago I was visiting with a life-long friend of my dads who lived in a palliative care facility, partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. He could understand what you were saying, but had great difficulty speaking.
As I prepared to leave, I embraced him and I whispered in his ear, I’ll see you again soon John. God loves you and so do I. Our cheeks were pressed against each other for a while, I stood up and he had the most beautiful look on his normally tired looking face, and he smiled at me, and a little tear spilled down his cheek, and as clearly as I’ve ever heard him speak, he said:
“Ted, in the end, God’s love is the only thing we can count on.” (and I saw the face of Christ in him.)
And Jesus said: “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your heart. Love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.”
Love comes first….. Agape…. Everything else follows….
I bid you peace in the midst of pandemic………… PT.
South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge...We Are Linked In LOVE!!
We have been asked & now offer 3 Easy ways to receive your Tithes & Offerings.....
~First, let us say that we are grateful and appreciative for all your continued support!~
We want to be sure we can give you a tax receipt for your generous donation.
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