Friday, December 02, 2011

The Greatest of These

There are several Greek words for love, as the Greek language distinguishes how the word is used. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words. Nonetheless, the senses in which these words were generally used are given below.

• Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) means "love" (unconditional love)
• Éros (ἔρως érōs[2]) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing.
• Philia (φιλία philía[3]) means friendship or affectionate love in modern Greek
• Storge (στοργή storgē[4]) means "affection" in ancient and modern Greek

In my life, I have learned that the most important thing to grasp on to and offer is love. Agape love. The kind of love that has no boundary. The kind of love that has no fee or requirement. The love our Creator has for each and every one of us, regardless of our history.

My God has been busy at work in my life and the lives of each of the members of my family this week. Through the craziness/messiness of our lives, He has been present every moment. I want to share a couple of examples with you.

As "Christian" was at the end of a bad night in the hospital, he fell back to sleep early Tuesday morning. I started to hear him mumble then in a very clear voice said, "Granny, Granny!" I believe she was with him that morning, loving him as dearly in Heaven as she did here on Earth.

My mother-in-law worked at her church as a receptionist part-time. The pastor has been amazing to our family and invited my husband in to preside over the funeral without question. He gave my husband her personal belongings from her desk and one of the items was a compact Bible with a few of her favorite passages highlighted. 1 Corinthians 13 was one of was the scripture my husband based his sermon for the funeral...he did not look in her Bible until after the funeral.

Throughout this week filled with crisis for our family I have experienced love in such a way that my heart has literally hurt because it was so full. Old friends coming to the visitation/funeral to support my family, friends coming to the hospital to visit me and "Christian" as we have been separated from our family, phone calls of encouragement from far away, Facebook words of encouragement and understanding, our church family filling in where needed and helping us in every way possible. And the unbelievable generosity and love shown to me through my "work" family. I have been humbled and so filled with gratitude for everything this week that I cannot find the appropriate words to express the magnitude of how I have been deeply touched.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
Today I Am Thankful For:


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  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver
  • Praying the Names of God, Ann Spangler
  • The Shack, William P. Young
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
  • Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs
  • The Mark of the Lion Triology, Francine Rivers
  • The Mitford Series, Jan Karon

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