Summary: Examination of 1 Corinthians 13, describing different types of love. Sermon aimed at teenagers and parents.
Sermon: The Bible teaches Real Love”
I Corinthians 13 By the Rev. John Donnelly
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Wayne, NJ
A young woman named Andrea wrote this story. Her story may be found on the web page of e-Harmony.com, an internet dating service.
“Jeff and I were definitely not strangers to internet dating. We tried almost every dating site out there—all with no success. e-Harmony impressed me right away because it sent me profiles of men with whom I shared total compatibility---from large-scale goals to hobbies. Each person was serious about finding that one special person, so I felt that the potential of finding “meat market guys” was pretty slim, which made me very comfortable and open about going out on dates. I went on several dates with very sweet men with whom I was very compatible, but that spark was missing. The, I met Jeff. It’s really difficult to describe how I knew he was right---but the spark was definitely there, and we totally connected. He is the most caring , thoughtful, and emotionally generous man I’ve ever met. I’m so grateful for eHarmony for making this match possible as I have found my soon-to-be husband, my love, my life.”
Turn on a TV, a radio, the internet, go to the library, to a movie, and you are bound to hear a love song or story. The love between a man and a woman has been exalted for thousands and thousands of years, and the world never seems to tire of it. When the Dixie chicks sing, “Cowboy, take me away , closer to heaven, closer to you,” they echo the heart felt sentiments of people from all times and all cultures across the world. And likewise, the “Song of Songs” from the Bible, praises the passion of romantic love, saying, “love is as strong as death. It burns like a blazing fire.”
This issue is of utmost importance to all Christians, whether or not you personally, at this point in your life, are interested in romantic love or not. People, with whom we are connected, are very interested in this subject, which can cause so much confusion and pain.
What is romantic love? To Christians, it certainly isn’t the lust, smut, or adultery as so frequently depicted on television and in some movies. . Perhaps C.S.Lewis of Chronicles of Narnia fame, has stated one of the best definitions, when he wrote, “Romantic love (or “Eros” in Greek ) creates a mysterious desire between one man and one woman, as opposed to basic sensuality. Eros invades & reorganizes the personality, obliterating the distinction between giving and receiving---they both are a pleasure.”
Likewise, the “Song of Songs” continues, “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If a man were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”
These words are especially meaningful to Ellen and me, as they were read at our wedding 25 years ago. For both of us, that was the happiest day. Ellen is not just my partner in ministry, but she is my love, my inspiration, my best friend, and my joy. To this day, I still cannot understand what Ellen ever saw in me---but of course, her sight is not very good.
When romantic love works, it’s fantastic. But when it doesn’t, it can be disastrous. It seems to me that romantic love is frequently unfair:
· Why do some people find it, and are able to keep it?
· Why do others find it just to mess it up, or to have it explode in their faces?
· Why does the promise of romantic love hold such promise and joy for some, and such heartache for others?
· I don’t know. Does luck play a role?
The Greeks strived to explain the agony and the ecstasy of love by creating the mythological figure of “Cupid.” Cupid was very mischievous and often sinister. He would shoot one of his arrows of love into the heart of a person, which would make that person fall passionately in love with another. Not unoften, that love was then rejected by the other person. I think it was Charlie Brown, the comic character , who once said that the only thing, which can destroy a peanut butter sandwich, is unrequited love.
So, sometimes romantic love is not fair; and even when two people mutually share romantic love for one another, that does not necessarily mean that they will live happily ever after.
· Romantic love is like a volcano that sometimes cools off.
· Romantic love is like soaring above the waves in a fast moving motorboat, which sometimes runs out of gas.
· But frequently romantic love is not even real love. Sometimes its just hormones. Sometimes it just lust. Sometimes its just passion.