Learning to Love

The Bible tells us over and over again that love is the key to living a Christian life.  The apostle John tells us:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  1 John 4:8

Peter says:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”  1 Peter 4:8

In his letter to the Corinthians Paul warns:

“If I have all prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13:2

We are called, in strong words, to love others, not only those who are agreeable or those who love us, but even our enemies;  even those who persecute us. (Luke 6:27).  It is the mark of being a Christian (1 Peter 1:22).  So why aren’t we doing it?  Why aren’t we at least trying to do it?  Love should be the goal of the process of sanctification.  Here’s how Francis Paget, an English theologian puts it:

“This is the great business and meaning of our life on earth:  that we should more and more yield up our hearts to God’s great grace of love;  that we should let it enter ever more fully and freely into us, so that it may even fill our whole heart and life.  We must day by day be driving back, in His strength, that sin that doth so easily beset us, and the selfishness that sin has fastened in our hearts;  and then His love will day by day increase in us.  Prayer will win and keep it;  work will strengthen and exercise it;  the Bible will teach us how to know and prize it, how to praise God for it;  the Holy Eucharist will ever renew and quicken its power in our hearts.  And so (blessed be God!) love and joy and peace will grow in us, beyond all that we can ask or think;  and He will forgive us for love’s sake, all the failures, all the faults in whatever work He has given us to do;  and will bring us at last into the fulness of that life which even here He has suffered us to know;  into that one Eternal Home, where love is perfect, and unwearied and unending;  and where nothing ever can part us from one another or from Him.”

Pray, read the Bible, receive the sacraments.  Learn to love.

For more posts on love see:

Little Children, Love One Another

Charity = Love

All the Loves

 

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3–What Stands Out

I love it when one of the Lutheran Ladies does a study series, because it encourages me to get out my Bible and read the same passages.  So I have been following Leslie’s posts about Ecclesiastes chapter three, and here is the verse that stands out for me:

“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart…”  Ecclesiastes 3:11″

Later in the chapter, the author talks about how we are no better than animals in some ways — we’re born, we die, our bodies turn to dust.  However, in this verse we see a hint of how God made humankind special.  We have an innate sense that there is something beyond our own daily concerns, a yearning for something more than mere subsistence.  St. Augustine put it this way:

“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.”

This is the issue that Solomon or “the preacher” is struggling with throughout Ecclesiastes.  What are earth are we here for?  What is the meaning of life?  If money, fame, and success don’t fill us up, what will?  Or, as we’re exploring this month, how do we spend our time in a way that is meaningful?

The answer to all these questions is the same:  God.  He is the one who is eternal;  He is the one who can fulfill us and make our existence worthwhile; He is after all, our Creator.  Knowing Him, obeying Him, praising Him, these are the things that will bring us true satisfaction.

Have you read chapter three of Ecclesiastes yet?  If so, what stands out for you.  We want your comments and questions.