And the Greatest of These is Love

kissWritten by Marilyn Tubbs

Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him. There are three things that remain—-faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 & 13

There he stood at the front of the church and the look on his face told all of us that the love of his life was about to walk down the aisle and very soon would become his wife. The smile on his lips came from his soul through his heart and then onto his face. And soon his bride appeared into view and she was breathtaking: dressed in a beautiful floor length gown, flowers in her hair and carrying a lovely bouquet of flowers. Slowly she walked down the aisle of the church, as if to savor every special moment as she approached her soon-to-be husband. And she had the same smile on her lips as he did. It started from her soul and moved through her heart to her lips. And their smiles, their joy, brought smiles to the faces of everyone in the church.

I sat there with such love in my heart for this very special couple and for the love of my life who sat beside me. In that magical setting I remembered our special moment so many years ago; that moment when we felt we couldn’t love each other more and everything seemed possible. The moment when life seemed so joyous and care free.

But life sometimes gets in the way, and I was reminded of a story about Ole and Olga. They lived on a farm in Iowa. Olga was starved for affection. Ole never gave her any signs of love, and Olga’s need to be appreciated went unfulfilled. At her wit’s end, Olga blurted out, “Ole, why don’t you ever tell me that you love me?” Ole stoically responded, “Olga, when we were married I told you that I loved you, and if I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know.”

Suddenly, in the warmth of this celebration of love, I wanted to rekindle the feeling of soul-felt love. I wanted the love of my life to know just how special he is and that life and time have not diminished the love I felt for him on that day so many years ago. Rather, they have increased it and blest me with a full awareness of what love truly is. I wanted to hold him in my arms, feel his gentle kiss and quietly say “I do” once again.

I think our love for God resembles our love for each other. When we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and we share our lives with God – the burdens, the losses, the hard times, the pain, the joys, the hopes and the blessings – we come to know and love God more and more as we grow closer. When we spend time with God and make space in our hearts, we have that same smile on our lips. From our soul, through our hearts to our lips.

Let us pray: Gracious and loving God, I thank you for the gift of love coming from you, showered upon me and then shared with others. I thank you for that pure and wonderful love shared by a bride and groom on their wedding day and I pray that I might experience and live that kind of pure love. Grant me, oh God, a heart of love that daily rekindles soul-like love, agape love, for you and for those I love. Grant that my love for you and for others will grow stronger in the seasons and challenges of my life and that it might constantly be a light to those I love and those I meet. So, this day, I simply and soul felt say, I love you God and I thank you for bringing your love and the love of others so richly into my life. I have been blest indeed with agape love. You are an awesome God and for your grace, your forgiveness and you endless love, I give you thanks this day. In your precious name, Amen.

Marilyn Tubbs is a member of the Lay Ministry Team.

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