Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Amherst, Virginia.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
We serve the Lord with love and praise.

A message from our Pastor


“…But the Greatest of These is Love.”    ~ I Corinthians 13:13

 

 

             During the month of February every year, I try to spend some time reading and meditating on I Corinthians 13, known to many as the “love chapter” in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul’s words in this passage have always been significant for me.

            I remember as an 8-year old kid in Vacation Bible School one summer being challenged to memorize and recite these verses for the closing program. With great fear and trembling, I stood in church before family and friends on a hot Friday evening in August and recited the verses of “the love chapter.” Many years later, on another hot Friday evening in August, I stood once again in a church before family and friends and recited portions of I Corinthians 13 as part of our wedding vows, when Bruce and I pledged our lives to one another. No matter how often I read these verses, I am always challenged by them. I would like to say that my familiarity with this passage has enabled me to be faithful to it at all times. In honesty, I more often than not find myself asking God’s forgiveness for the times I fail to live out this love that Paul describes.

              I once printed I Corinthians 13 as a bulletin insert and challenged my congregation (and myself) to put in on the refrigerator at home and commit to read it every day. Doing so can change us, by God’s grace, and help us to interact more lovingly with others. I am particularly challenged by verses 4-8. Eugene Peterson in The Message translates those words like this:

 

 

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut.

Doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others.

Isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle.

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel.

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything,

Trusts God always, always looks for the best,

Never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies.

 

 

When I have the opportunity to converse with St. Paul one day, I look forward to personally thanking him for this love letter, this “Valentine” that he wrote to the early church and to us, straight from the heart of God. These words speak of a love that goes way beyond flowers, chocolates and sentimental poetry, a love that we can experience only by the self-giving and self-sacrificing love and grace of God in Christ Jesus. May God help us all to write these words on our hearts and reflect them in our lives as we live and love as Christ’s disciples.

Love in Christ,  

Pastor Nancy

(reprinted from the February 2014 EUMC Newsletter)