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It's All About Love – Br. David Vryhof

I Corinthians 12:29-13:13

This is the message that we have received and which we preach tirelessly to others: that God is Love, and that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to become human and to live among us, so that we might know that we are loved and forgiven, and be set free from sin and death. We believe and proclaim that we, having received such a great love, are being set free from selfishness and self-preoccupation so that we might love others with the same love with which we have been loved.

In a word, our message is all about love.

St Paul’s description of the gift of love found in I Corinthians 13 is, therefore, a special gift for us, because it describes the love we are to have for God and for one another, which of course is the same love with which God has loved us. Listen to what Paul says:

Love is patient. It is willing to receive slights, injuries and hardships without complaint, even over a long period of time.

Love is kind. It eases another person’s pain, soothes anxieties, fears and hostilities, and contributes positively to the happiness of others.

Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It is not resent the success or prosperity of others. It is humble, constantly forgetting its own achievements and seeking the welfare and happiness of others.

Love does not insist on its own way, but takes seriously the needs, sufferings, hopes and joys of other people.

Love is not irritable or resentful. It seeks to understand before it condemns, and finds better ways to withstand evil than to attack its opponents with violence.

Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It does not notice and remember every bad thing that another does (which leads to resentment), but seeks to respond to hatred with love, and to evil with forgiveness.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. It is steadfast, resilient, cheerful and full of hope.

Love never ends. It will never cease to operate and it will never become invalid, because it is the purpose and nature of God, and because it is the only relationship by which human beings can exist together. Even the most prominent gifts in the Church – Paul cites the gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge – will someday cease to function. But love is greater than all these and will never end.

Think of this. As followers of Jesus, we are sent into this world to be visible signs of God’s unconditional love. When people are able to say of us, “See how they love one another,” they will catch a glimpse of the Kingdom of God that Jesus announced. In a world torn apart by anger, hatred and conflict, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds. We embrace that vocation again today as we extend our hands to receive again the One who is Love.

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8 Comments

  1. Ruth West on July 12, 2016 at 01:31

    At such a time as this, when evil and hatred has reared its horrendous head in our society, in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Minnesota and other places, not unlike the time in 2014 when Australia was under siege, oh, how we need God’s love, individually and collectively! O Lord, save us from our sins! The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians is such a marvelous essay on love! At one time I could recite it from memory, but I have to read portions of it now. How Jesus must pity us because we are such slow learners! I remember the account of his looking out on Jerusalem saying that he would have so liked to have gathered them, as a hen would cover her chicks with her wings, but they would not. How he loves us! May the community of all mankind surrender to him in perfect submission. Can it ever be?

  2. Ann Hoffman on July 7, 2016 at 08:36

    Thank you, Brother David, for living forth this message by your kindness to me when I was a stranger attending Noon prayers at SSJE in early June! I’m sure you would rather have stayed silent and focused on your preparation for prayer, but you noticed my confusion about the service book. So, with great kindness, you came across the chapel to whisper an explanation of the service. That made all the difference to me!
    Earlier, when I arrived in the outer chapel, you were the one who opened the gate and showed me where to sit.
    I recognized you from the SSJE videos and your “Brother, Give me a Word” writings, which I find so valuable. So you have been “opening the gate” for me for a long time. Thank you for embodying the loving message of Jesus in so many ways , and not just to me in June. God bless you and all your Brothers!

  3. Rhode on July 6, 2016 at 07:37

    when I substitute God for the word love in this chapter… I feel the weight of my own striving to be ‘good’ falling from my shoulders. Jesus said, ‘take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden light.’ The choices true love makes in real life are not easy and so not light. I have been working on this for a while. Yet, I have been comforted and loved unexpectedly as God works to teach and show me how.

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  5. Christina on December 19, 2014 at 08:33

    These are difficult thoughts to acknowledge this morning. Yes. Perhaps not for me as I sit at home with a fairly stable world around me, but how about the people in Australia who have suffered two tragedies this week. First of all the killings in Sydney as a result of a siege; and then yesterday the murder of eight children in one family, and the stabbing of the mother too who lies in hospital. Families and friends may not be thinking of Corinthians words of Love. Christina

    • Doris on December 20, 2014 at 02:40

      The people in Australia need to pray for the families afflicted by this evil movement. They need to pray especially for the mother who is still alive. Finally they need to pray for their enemies! Yes the hardest prayer of all but the greatest prayer of love! Pray for this evil not to steal their love and joy in the Lord! Only He can give them the peace that passeth the understanding of men in such a horrid aftermath. Ask for His guidance in seeking His will in the middle of this and how to deal with it. His love is so awesome if we just ask for it to come into our hearts, no matter how bad a situation is! God is Love! He doesn’t fight evil with more evil, He gives us LOVE and compassion to deal with evil. It’s ours for the asking…our free will!
      I now pray for God’s Love and Blessings to pour out to all people of Australia, to help them cope with these evil deeds. Fill their hearts with Thy Peace and Assurance that He will never forsake us, but give us the wisdom and guidance to cope with so much anger and violence in our world today. And to God be the Glory for restoring the love and peace in Australia! We ask in Thy Holy Name, Amen

  6. Barb on December 19, 2014 at 07:24

    A beautiful message and a reminder that what we say and how we treat others does make a difference.

  7. Mary on December 19, 2014 at 07:05

    Thank you, Brother David. The words of this passage resonate with new meaning, especially at this time of year when my temper is short and my patience is frayed. But thanks be to God that his love never fails!

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