1 Corinthians 13:13 – And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Last summer, I read these words at my step-father's funeral. Because I was one of the last people to arrive home because I live on the other coast, the scripture readings had already been chosen. At the time, I thought that it was an unusual choice. After all, I had heard the 1 Corinthians passage at a lot of weddings, but never a funeral. But, after some time, I realized the choice was perfect because it was love that brought my step-father to believe in Christ and his life could have easily been summed up with that one word.
When I think of how God calls each of us to love, I always reminded of this story. It is about a unit of soldiers during World War I who were pinned down in "no-man's land." They were surrounded by exploding shells and the cries of soldiers dying all around them. One young soldier wanted to go out and retrieve his wounded friend. His lieutenant stopped him. "Don't be stupid! He's dead and if you go you'll be dead." "But I want to do it, I have to go," the soldier persisted, but the officer would not hear of it. "It's a waste. Nobody expects this of you." The soldier ignored the lieutenant's orders and headed up over the rim of the foxhole and out into the open field. Hours later he returned, dragging his dead friend. The soldier was badly wounded as well and he would soon be dead. In frustration and anger, the lieutenant cried, "I told you, I told you! It wasn't worth it." But the dying soldier said, "Oh yes, it was worth it. See, when I found him he wasn't dead yet and when I knelt to pick him up he looked into my eyes and said, 'Jim, I knew you would come.'"
It is difficult for us to understand this kind of love but this is exactly the same kind of love that Jesus talks about in the Gospel of John. He asks us to follow his example. He calls each of us to love.
Prayer: We thank you for your great gift of love. We thank you for showing us by your life what it means to love. Help us to understand and to love those whom you bring into our lives, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.