Love is a word we throw around a lot. Sometimes I’m critical of society’s use of it (we “love” everything from pizza to our parents), but an outsider might question the church’s use, too. We say things like, “Love God and love neighbor” and “Owe no one anything, except to love one another” and that all the commandments can be summarized, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What does love mean in these central Christian principles and how are we living it?
I know a church where the congregation quietly groans about “yet another sermon on love.” I can sympathize, perhaps you can, too. You might be thinking that about our pulpit. I have been tempted to say to that congregation, “Maybe the preacher can move on to another subject when you get this one right.” Of course the honest response would be, “Guess we’ll always be hearing about love, then."
It’s not that they or we are bad at loving, it’s just that it’s something we are always striving to do better, more fully, more Christ-like. Just as it’s not sufficient to tell your spouse, “I love you” every once in a while, it’s not sufficient to show each other and our community, “We love you” occasionally. When we expect God to love us daily, we are expected to show God’s love daily. That is difficult but holy work.
We’ll think about love this Sunday (yes, again). We’ll hear Romans 13:8-14 read in all three services and consider what it means to love as Paul instructs in this letter.
As of right now, it appears our area of the state will be spared the worst of the hurricane. Should that change and/or we need to get any information out next week, we will use emails and Facebook posts to get the word out to most of you. If you need to contact us about concerns, please note that the pastoral emergency number is 843-662-3206 (obviously, contact 911 if you have any emergencies that require first responders).
When it looked like Irma was headed toward our area, the pastors of Advent UMC in Simpsonville (near Greenville) and Memorial UMC in Greer began gathering names of members who’d be willing to house any of you in need of evacuating. Now that they may be in danger, I’d like to return the favor. Please email me to let me know if you’d be willing to host people from those churches in the unlikely scenario that they need to evacuate.
Continue to pray for those already devastated by Irma and those in danger. Pray for the people of Mexico after their massive earthquake. Be safe. Stay tuned. Keep loving.