This weekend we celebrated the promise before God and one another made by two of our own as they were joined together in holy matrimony. It also just so happens that our text this past Sunday was from St. Paul's famous love chapter: 1 Corinthians 13. It isn't St. Valentine's Day yet, but the focus on love that is impossible to quantify was our focus over the weekend.
Remember O. Henry's story The Gift of the Magi? Jim and Della have two possessions that are of utmost value to each of them: Jim's gold watch, handed down from his grandfather, and Della's beautiful, flowing hair. At Christmas, Della sells her hair to buy a gold watch fob for her husband, while Jim sells his watch to purchase hair accessories for his wife. Each receives a gift that is no longer useable. But in the end, both Jim and Della realize that the love they share is bigger than the gifts they have exchanged. To cite a popular credit card commercial: "Watch chain, $20.00. Luxury hair combs, $20.00. True love? Priceless!" Henry refers to the couple as "The Magi" or Wise Men. Though each ends up appearing the fool, holding on to a gift that is useless, their sacrificial gifts of love reveal that they are truly wise. Henry's story is so satisfying and the image of this couple so memorable because the gift each person gives is so sacrificial. What a beautiful image of God's love for us! Yet there is a kind of human yearning depicted in the story which gives the tale an air of make-believe. Jim and Della accidently give gifts that are of equal, sacrificial value. When you and I try to put such a parable of love into practice in the real world we realize how foolish...truly foolish...each of us is. Our love is meted out in portions. I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine. I'll forgive you if you forgive me first.
St. Paul doesn't limit the love of his famous love chapter to the love of God...but it is clear that an un-balanced, immeasurable love is at the heart of the love he describes: He begins his famous love chapter with these important words: "Let me show you a way 'beyond measuring'...!" Even as unlovable people who have received the prodigal, unconditional, immeasurable love of God through Jesus, God is at work among us to carry out the same...in our families and even into our wider community. We might be fools...but God gives us the grace to be "wise fools"! One way we are given to share the prodigal gifts of God's love is through the Laundry Love Project (LLP). Are you looking for a way that you can serve our wider community? LLP is looking for volunteers to help. I invite you to prayerfully consider how God might be calling you to support LLP...how God might use you on behalf of those not only in need of clean clothes...but in need of a "wise fool" that cares. What a privilege to serve, as God gives us opportunity, together.