Tuesday, January 25, 2022

This week's sermon

Love is all we have—January 30, 2022

          I don’t always title sermons, and even if I do, I don’t always share the title with the congregation.

          But I did title this sermon and want to share that title with you.

          This sermon is called “Love Is All We Have”.

          I get it from an Emily Dickinson poem of the same name. The poem is very short.

          Here it is:

“Love is all we have/Is all we know of love/ It is enough, the freight/ should be proportioned to the groove.”

Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth is the total definition of love.

Listen to pieces of 1st Corinthians 13:

“If I have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal….if I do not have love, I am nothing….If I do not have love, I gain nothing….For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now Faith, Hope and Love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is Love.”

Love is greater than Faith.

Love is greater than Hope.

          “Love is all we have….”

          English is a simpler language than Greek. Take it from someone who studied Greek for two years at Harvard Divinity School!

          For one thing, translating Greek into English is sometimes difficult.

          For example, there are three totally different words in Greek that are all translated as ‘love’ in English.

          The first is EROS.

          You probably already figured out that is the root word of ‘erotic’. EROS love is romantic love. The love of passions.

          The second word is PHILIOS.

          It is the root word of ‘Philadelphia’—the city of brotherly and sisterly love. PHILIOS is the love we feel for family and friends.

          The final Greek word we translate into English as ‘love’ is AGAPE.

          AGAPE literally means ‘the love that gives itself away’. It is the ‘love’ of God for us and all creation. It is the ‘love’ of Jesus who literally ‘loved’ us by giving up his life. It is the ‘love’ that says, ‘I will die to keep you safe’.

          Not surprisingly, the Greek word translated as ‘love’ in Paul’s letter, is AGAPE.

          AGAPE is stronger than Faith.

          AGAPE is stronger than Hope.

          AGAPE is Faith and Hope put into action.

          You are welcome to have EROS and PHILIOS in your life. More power to you.

          But we are called by Paul, by Jesus, by God, to feel AGAPE love for all the world.

          We are called to ‘give ourselves away’ to fight global warming, to champion those in need, to work for peace here in Litchfield and around the world, to give voice to the voiceless, to work for social justice and equality, to love everyone—even our enemies and those who wish us harm.

          Love is all we have to offer to God and to the world.

          “Love is all we have/Is all we know of love/It is enough, the freight/should be proportioned to the groove.”

Amen and amen.



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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.