Love

Love is a theme that pervades all of the Bible.  The Old Testament (Hebrew language) word for love is “ahabah” and to love is “aheb.”  The Greek language (New Testament) for love is agape (a ga pa), and to love is agapan. The words for New Testament “love” are rare in writings outside the New Testament, and when agape is found, its meaning is primarily emotional, sexual, or ecstatic. The agape love of the New Testament is a new creation of Christianity. The New Testament takes an essentially pagan word and instills it with new meaning.  This New Testament love is unconditional, indifferent to prior value. It is the love God has for all of us, and the love to which he calls all of us. Nothing we can do can make God love us any more or any less. It is love that represents the power of  God’s kingdom. It is love that places the welfare of the other above the interests and welfare of the self — the one who loves. It is not without emotion but it above all shows itself in the act of will and concern for the good of others. The supreme paradigm of love therefore is the cross. There God in Christ gave his all for the benefit of the entire human race through all time. Thus, love abides as the character of heavenly existence. It is therefore to be the mode of life for all of God’s people in all circumstances. It is not an unattainable and ideal goal for the redeemed of God; it is that stance and attitude of life to which we are called. And that to which God calls us he provides our enablement to do. A community (church) of agape love is one where each one is more concerned for the blessing, giftedness, joy, comfort, and advancement of the other than for him or herself.  It is a community bereft of competitiveness, rivalry, possessiveness, defensiveness; and one characterized by rejoicing in the talents, gifts, and advancements of all the others. If our church does not radiate these latter qualities, then we are light years away from the church Jesus envisioned when he declared, “On this rock I will build my church.”

 

   REV. DR. RICHARD L. SHAW, PASTOR

 

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