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Spiritual Matters


With love should come action



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February 12, 2014 - With Valentine's Day near our thoughts turn to love. I remember falling in love with my wife - oh what a feeling such romantic love is. And now 35 years later I still feel that love, but I have learned that lasting love in marriage is commitment and action more than a feeling. Such love takes intentional time and energy to grow and maintain.

Love means a lot of other things too. We say everything from "we love pizza" to "we love our kids" to "we love God." The Bible has a lot to say about love. Here are a few of my favorites:

"God is love.... since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another... By this we know that we abide in him and he in us." 1 John 1

"God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 1 Corinthians 12:4-8

"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor...Contribute to the needs of others; extend hospitality to strangers...Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are... so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." Romans 12

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:44

There is a wonderful story of a young boy late getting home from school. His mom was anxious and met him at the door to ask where he had been. The boy replied, "On my way home I saw a little girl crying because a wheel had come off of her tricycle, so I stopped to help her." His mom replied, "But you don't know how to fix your own bike so how could you help her?" And he said, "I know Mom, I couldn't fix her trike, but I could stop and help her cry - I know how to do that."

Another story illustrating love as action comes from the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play Major League baseball. While the exact timing and details of this event are unclear the power of the story is not. For crossing the "baseball color line" Robinson frequently faced intense racism. Pitchers threw fastballs at his head. Runners spiked him on the bases. Brutal things were said. As the story goes, during one game the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach a peak.

To make matters worse Robinson committed an error and stood at second base humiliated while the fans hurled insults at him. Another Dodger, a Southern white man by the name Pee Wee Reese, called timeout. He walked from his position at shortstop toward Robinson at second base, and with the crowds looking on, he simply put his arm around Robinson's shoulder. The fans grew quiet. Both men showed great love and courage that day.

Feelings of love are wonderful, but commitments and actions of love keep relationships strong and can even change the world!

The Rev. Jonathan Heierman is pastor of Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church

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