December 22, 2021
We shared about God's love for the 4th Sunday of Advent, which is also the last Sunday before Christmas. Speaking of love in the Christian tradition, we mainly refer to the Apostle Paul's first letter to Corinthians.
"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."
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
However, so many times, we tend to forget in what situation the Apostle wrote this passage. In 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Paul talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He says that, although each person receives a different gift from the Spirit, the varieties of gifts are from the same Spirit for the only one purpose of serving God. Then, from 1 Corinthians 12:12-30, Paul writes about the church's unity in Christ. Then, he asks the Christians in Corinth.
"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?"
(1 Corinthians 12:27-30)
Then, Paul concludes the chapter, "But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way." (1 Corinthians 12:31) After that, he speaks about "the Gift of Love" in chapter 13. Therefore, for the Apostle, love is like a rock on which to build the body of Christ, the church. It was to bring together the congregants' differences and unite the different gifts that each received.
Last Sunday, through the sermon, we concluded that God's love always moves toward us, and that God is decorating our lives and the world with God's love. In addition, we encouraged ourselves to choose to love, to take the risk of being vulnerable in our relationship even though we cannot love others as God does. Today, I'd like to share with you for what purpose we should love one another. The answer is in the letter of Paul to Corinthians. It is to build the body of Christ, to create a world where diversity of people is respected, to unite in the love of God.
"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
May the unfailing love of our God be with us all the time.
Pastor Woo.