“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
As we enter the second week of the Season of Advent, our thoughts and attention turn from hope to love. As you already know, love is central to my preaching and my ministry, as I believe it is central to the Gospel and our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. For me, the love of others has to flow from our lives as Christians, and it has to move us to care for others, especially the least among us.
In St. Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth that I quoted above, Paul is summarizing the faith that we must have. As Christians, we live in hope, hope for a better tomorrow, but a tomorrow that we have to help usher in. We have to have faith, for if we do not have faith, we have nothing. But, Paul tells the Church that the greatest of all of these is love. Earlier in the 13th Chapter, Paul says this:
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
We can do everything and obtain all the riches and power on earth, but if we do not have love, we are nothing. Love is central to everything that we do, and every action that we take, every decision that we make has to come from a position of love.
Apart from Paul, we have God as the supreme example of what love is all about.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
So deep was God’s love for his creation that he gave up his Son, not to come and pronounce judgment on all of us, but to show us the way to eternal life. And that way is straightforward:
Love God, Love Neighbor, Love our Enemies, Love Each Other, and Love Yourself! Love is the answer.