February 2021 – A letter from Pastor Lori

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.  1 Corinthians 10:4-7
It’s February, the month of Valentines and heart-shaped boxes of candy…so what else is a pastor to write about but love?  Thanks to the mass commercialization of Valentine’s Day, love is everywhere.  Love is all around us!
Is it really though?  I mean, sure, our culture is highly proficient in and dedicated to promoting romance.  I’ve lost count of the number of jewelry commercials on TV today, and I tip my cap to the advertising folks.
But while romance is as abundant as ever, It seems that love is a different story at the moment.  It seems that love is harder to come by in the public sphere.  Violence always leads off the news broadcasts.  And public discourse has become hostile to the extent that political differences have even driven wedges between close friends.
But as people united in Christ, we are called by God to love others even if it’s not the most popular thing to do.  Fortunately, the Bible is a great resource to help us do this!  One of the best descriptions of love in the Bible is the passage I quoted above, written by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian church.
On February 17th, we begin the season of Lent.  We start on Ash Wednesday preparing our way to the cross and resurrection.  What greater love than Jesus’ live, death and resurrection.  It is a love that is unexplainable but truly attainable.  It is a love with no strings attached.  It is a love that meets us where we are, and loves us anyway.
Despite that common use, though, the implications of the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13 are wide-ranging.  Loving with this sort of patience and gentleness invites others into our lives, providing fertile ground for relationships to grow.  Strangers we may at first lump into a category become individual people we truly see, know, and appreciate.  Love  like Paul describes, is able to topple the walls of fear and discord that seem to be so effectively separating people right now.  
This is the kind of love God calls us to offer to the world this February and this season of Lent.  Let this love be our Valentine to everyone, showing the love God has for us in Jesus Christ by offering that same love to others.
In Christ’s service,
Pastor Lori Stevens