True Love

Go to any bookstore or card shop and you will find that lots of people have lots of ideas about “true” love.

You can find sweet poems, snarky sentiments, dark and moody reflections, and in-your-face one liners.

You can find those who will tell you love is a many splendored thing and those who insist there is no such thing.

So let me suggest you take a look somewhere else – in the Scriptures.  There you will find that “God is love” and that it is best exemplified in the sacrificial giving of God.  You will find much about grace, hope, purpose, dedication, giving, going the “second mile” and how love is intimately connected to faith and hope.  Start with Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth – chapter 13 – to be exact.

The words may sound familiar – or seem like a foreign language – but there will be much food for thought.

Last week, as we continued working our way through the book of Genesis, we took a fresh look at a very old love story – that between Isaac and Rebekah.  We reflected on how God was at the center of that union, that prayer was a key part of it, and how it mirrors beautifully the loving union, and convenantal relationship between God and the Church.

One thing struck me right off the bat looking at that story again.

It bears no resemblance to the sometimes overly sentimental, or sometimes overly cynical, views that the world often provides on the subject of love.

Do you love someone deeply?  Then compare that love, and how it is expressed, with what Scripture says.

You may learn – as I do each time I look at the subject- that true love is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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