On Sunday our church began a series exploring the fruits of the spirit. We started with love, which seems appropriate for the first week of February. Love is talked about often - whether in books, movies, television, the church, or casual conversation. I entered the sermon quite certain I knew the territory well: As a wife of more than 10 years; mother for almost 2 (!) years; and a daughter/granddaughter/friend/niece/etc. for more than 35 years, I have some direct experience with love. As a student of Greek, I can explain the differences between agape, eros, and philia. As a child of the Church, I can recite 1 Corinthians 13: Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud... That pretty much covers it, right?
Wrong. The definition shared by our pastor stopped me cold. Seen through this prism, love isn't about your relationship to others. It has nothing to do with your knowledge of language or even scripture. It is not about you at all. Rather, love asks for a focus so intense that the needs of another become clear, and a selflessness that enables you to supply them. It asks you to go beyond your own agenda and comfort in service to the one(s) you cherish most.
I am eager to explore this perspective on love in February and beyond. Won't you join me? Can you allow your love to be bigger than you?