Pastor’s Message – February 2020
The month of February suggests Valentine’s Day. While Valentine’s Day is not a day on the Christian calendar and celebrated by the church, it is a time when most think of the topic of love in general and in particular love between husband and wife or couples who are in a romantic relationship. So, the topic for my page, as pastor at Market Street Presbyterian Church, is love in the church. No, this is not about romantic love or “eros”, the Greek word for a romantic love. Rather, this more about the love God has for all humanity or “agape, the Greek word for a special higher type of love. And it is about the love that Christians should have for “one another” or “phileo,” the Greek word for a human based love.
In today’s world, many are looking for secrets of church growth and wanting to see increases in numbers attending Sunday morning worship. The concept of church growth is important, and all churches need to work toward the goal of growth in numbers. But, the single most important goal is for a church to possess and show love. Jesus made sure that His disciples understood the priority of love when He said “By this all men will know you are my disciples if they have love one for another.” (John 13:35) The apostle, Paul, lets the church at Corinth know that the spiritual gifts will pass away, but love will never pass away. (I Cor 13:8) Without the motive of love, Paul reminds the church that whatever is done amounts to “nothing.” (I Cor. 13:2)
The biggest question for any church should be: “Are we displaying and practicing love?” In modern psychological terms, the question might be: “Are we a functional church or a dysfunctional church?” The psychological jargon basically means that a church, like a human family, can either be a place of love, support and true character growth or a place where there is harm, hurt and damage. There are dysfunctional churches where people get hurt and wounded due to the presence of sin. Every church must guard against workers of iniquity who seek to do harm and spread hate. The apostle Paul warns about those who seek to do harm in church life. “Beware of dogs, beware of evildoers.” (Phil. 3:2)
While I have only been at Market Street Presbyterian Church for only four months, I have observed genuine love being displayed and practiced. The love I am observing is for “one another,” and love that extends outward to the neighborhood in our outreach neighborhood suppers and other programs. So, I can gladly state that Market Street Presbyterian Church is a loving and functional church. Love has been demonstrated in many ways within our church.
Paul in the love chapter of First Corinthians thirteen, summarizes by saying: “And now abideth faith, hope and charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love).” (I Cor. 13:13) Let love be the goal in the month of February and always at Market Street Presbyterian Church and in your personal and professional life also.
Post Script (P.S.) Valentine’s Day is Friday, February 14. Be sure and get a nice card and a nice gift for your precious sweetheart!