Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
“Words of Love”

1 st Corinthians, chapter 13 is a classic text. Fondly known as the “Love Passage” it offered the focus for my sermon two Sunday’s ago. While I didn’t “write out” and “read” my sermon that Sunday, at the request of many I am sketching out my notes from it here, perhaps appropriately now during the week of Valentine’s Day.
I guess the gist of my sermon was that the word “love” in our English vocabulary has become so overused that we have lost the remarkable nuances that other languages offer. Especially the Greek, the language in which the authors of the New Testament wrote. Dependent on the web site I checked for my research there is a difference of opinion as to how many words the Greeks used for what the English translate as love. But here they are in their variations:
Eros Romantic love. Generally sensual sexual passionate love. The kind of love that seems to be the theme of “love songs.” Probably what is meant by amore in Latin. Obviously important in procreation. However, the Greeks didn’t always think of eros as a positive, like we might today, recognizing that it could also be a dangerous, irrational, even possessive type of love.  

Philia.   Valued highly by the Greeks, this refers to deep comradely friendship, evidenced by loyalty. Think of a “Band of Brothers” in a war context, or fraternity/sorority deep connected relationships. I like to think this was a kind of love shared by the disciples, also a variation of love Jesus felt for Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus.  Storge was a kind of philia, embodying the love between parents and children and among siblings – a familial kind of love.
Agape , Often described as “a love for everyone” that was to be extended to all people, whether close to you or distant strangers. Perhaps the most radical of the types of love, it is characterized as a selfless love, altruistic without motivation of reward. The similar word in Latin is caritas, from which our word charity is derived. Older translations of 1 st Corinthians 13 word for love was Charity. Is this perhaps the love that Jesus refers to when he offers the parable of the Good Samaritan and asks us to love not only our neighbors but also our enemies?
Ludus.   While philia for the Greeks evidenced a serious type of love, ludus refers to a playful type of love. This may show up in the playful affection between children or casual lovers. This can also be a component within friendships and a special and attractive, fun aspect of a marital or other very serious relationship.
Philautia.  This type of love refers to self-love. A healthy version of this leads to an enhanced capacity to love and care about others. This positive version of self-love is evidenced in healthy self esteem and a sense of self value. Certainly, what we try to nurture in our young people. However, the unhealthy variety may be manifested in self obsession and narcissistic behaviors and attitudes which de-value others and may lead to abusive behaviors.
Pragma Best considered a modern update on ancient Greek “loves” by 20 th century sociologists and psychoanalysts, pragma has been viewed as a mature, realistic love more commonly found within long established relationships, such as with marital couples or other established healthy relationships. It is characterized by making compromises, showing patience and tolerance – what we might call a healthy give and take way of loving and caring in relationship. This Greek word is obviously the root of our word “pragmatic.” 

It was interesting to parse our English word for love as I prepared for our Sunday with this famous “Love Passage” from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians. However, a clue to what Paul was talking about when he highlighted “love” over “faith and hope” is found in chapter 12 of his Letter when he talks about “spiritual gifts.” He writes that there are many spiritual gifts, that the Holy Spirit allocates them and then activates them in us. While he is clear that we don’t have all the same gifts and that they are differently disbursed to us by the Spirit, he is equally clear that there is one of them that EVERYONE receives. He describes it as “the manifestation of the spirit for the common good.” This description seemed awfully obscure to me for many years. And then one day, I understood what Paul was trying to say. This gift we all have been give is the agape type of love, what
we understand as “compassion.”  An innate, inborn, always present within us empathy that seems to connect us with others. It appears as a desire, a compassionate longing to “give unto others as we would like to be given to.” Too often we block ourselves off from acting on this love. We ignore it, place self-love above it, or are just too scared to risk it. And so we cut off ourselves from its flow, despite the efforts of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this leads to loss for all involved.
Compassionate, agape love is both noun and verb. This compassion is a feeling, an intention which is designed to be manifested (enfleshed, made real) in action, a reaching out kind of love. It happens when we open to the reality that we are immensely loved by a compassionate God, then called into a life of “doing likewise.” It’s how Jesus lived his life among us. It’s risky, it’s scary, but it’s worth it. It’s profoundly beautiful and it fills us with love as we channel through us the love which has been given us from God at our creation and shown us in the life of Jesus.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t worry about finding a card, addressing it, stamping it and putting it in the mail. Just show love to the next person God puts in your path, and the next, and the next. It is love at its most essential level. It can change the one we share it with. It can change us. It can change the world. We just have to use it with courage – a heart strength birthed from love.

pictures from Pinterest. No copywrite infringement intended.
To communicate feedback, comments, observations, or reflections you may have as a result of reading these weekly messages, click here to E-mail Torrence directly. She welcomes the dialog, as it stimulates her creative process. A reply to this E-pistle goes to the church secretary.
This week
Bible Study
Tuesday evening
February 12th
B L & C
Noon to 1 on Thursday
February 14th
Celtic Service
Sunday (2-17) at 5:30 p.m. at Grace Church, Kilmarnock
Supper at 5:30 ~ Study at 6:15 and tonight we complete Proverbs and conclude with Job.
All are welcome!
Bag Lunch & Conversation with Vanessa Livingstone, Director of Social Services for Richmond County. 
Torrence Harman giving the reflection.
"A cold and dreary day and I got a basket of fruit. Such a treat. Thank you so much. Peace."
Barbara Grander
On Next Month's Calendar
Farnham & St. John's
Mar. 5 th     5:30 p.m.   Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at St. John's

Mar. 6 th      Ash Wednesday services :
noon at St. John's, 5 p.m. at Farnham
A Creative Journey thru Lent

During Lent 2019 we will explore ways to connect with the Holy through creative expression. How this can happen with such ordinary things like words, wood, sound, the landscape around us and food will be the subject of Friday evenings in Lent. Our guides will be some special “artists” as they craft experiences for us to tap into our creative and meaning making nature. Each evening will include: 6:00 p.m. supper (potluck except for April 12th) ; 7:00-8:00 p.m. presentation; 8:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. closing compline/benediction. Each evening will take place at St. John’s. The dates are as follows:

Friday, March 15 th   
Friday, March 22 nd   
Friday, March 29 th   
Friday, April 5 th  
Friday, April 12 th

Click here for a description of each week's event.
Richmond County Ministerial Association (RCMA) Lenten Season
The theme for this year's Richmond County Ministerial Association's Lenten Season is
the Voices of Holy Week

The services are Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. Each sermon/ monologue will be from the perspective of a character in the narrative of Holy Week. The offering each Sunday night will go to RCMA Benevolence fund.
Mar 10 - Warsaw United Methodist Church
Rev. Donald Bowen
“The thief that had a change of heart”
March 17 - Cobham Park Baptist Church
Revs. Kenny and Leslie Park
“Judas Iscariot and his mother”
March 24 – New Zion Baptist Church
Rev. Daniel Burch “Pontius Pilate”
March 31 – Rappahannock Baptist Church
Rev. Gernard Reed “Barabbas”
April 7 – North Farnham Episcopal Church
Rev. David Johnson “Joseph of Arimathea”
April 14 – Warsaw Baptist Church
Rev. Torrence Harman “Mary Magdalene”
In the Church
Sunday February 17 th
Epiphany VI
Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's

Sunday February 24 th
Epiphany VII
Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John 's

Sunday March 3 rd
Epiphany VIII

Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's
Sunday March 10 th
last Sunday of Epiphany

Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Farnham

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist at St. John's
In the Parish Hall

Come Worship With Us

Sunday Service this week

9:00 a.m. Farnham Church Farnham

11:00 a.m. St. John's Church