“The Feast of Hearts”
February is the month of “the feast of hearts,” Valentine’s Day. It is a month in which many “I love yous” are heard and sent and many little red hearts appear everywhere. All the messages and symbols of love lead me to consider one of the aspects of the faith journey—love that never ends.
The Apostle Paul penned those famous words that we hear at many weddings when he wrote to the believers in Corinth. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
In 1Cor 13, Paul describes what many intuitively regard as an ideal understanding of romantic love. After all, who would not want one’s spouse to be an endless reserve of patience, kindness, perseverance, and protection? Add to this idealistic thinking the eloquence of Paul’s description of love, and this text has all the makings of a wedding-day Scripture reading.
A main reason that Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian Church is because the Corinthian church was a hot mess. The congregation was full of all kinds of drama and sinful behavior that threatened to ruin the witness of the Church to Jesus Christ. This is the context that we must think of the love passage. It is meant to be a clever correction to the Corinthian church to stop them from misbehaving.
This section about Love is all about how to correctly use the gifts that God has given all of us. Love is about how to correctly use the freedom that we have as Christians who have eternity to look forward to. Love is the more excellent way. And the love that Paul is speaking about is not the love of romance and infatuation. Paul is using the Greek word “Agape” which means self- sacrificing love. Agape love is behind all actions that put others first. This is the love with which God loves us by sending His son Jesus to die in order to restore our relationship with God.
As the “month of love” February moves along, take time to think about how the love Paul so eloquently speaks of is a part of our daily walk with Christ and with each other.