Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lenten Luncheon Series: Gifts of the Spirit, week one

Every year, the Grand Island Ministerium puts together a Lenten Luncheon series. There are five churches that are members of the ministerium: Saint Stephen Roman Catholic Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, Saint Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, Saint Timothy Lutheran Church, and Island Presbyterian Church. All clergy from these churches attend meetings of the ministerium, where they plan events, such as the Lenten Luncheon series. The clergy chooses a different theme for the Lenten luncheons each year. This year, the theme is the gifts of the spirit.

The first Lenten luncheon was held on Wednesday, March 8th, and the speaker was the Rev. Paul Nogaro, pastor of Saint Stephen Roman Catholic Church.



All of the Lenten luncheons are held at Trinity United Methodist Church. In addition to a delicious meal and an inspiring message, there is a little boutique, with jewelry and other hand crafted items from artisans around the world. 

The products are colorful and well designed.

They look as if they are made with love.

And speaking of love, that was the topic of Father Paul's reflection. Love is one of the gifts of the spirit. He pointed out that the word "love" is used hundreds of times in the Bible. There are three kinds of love that are defined in the Bible:
  • filia is the love that friends have for one another.
  • eros is sexual love. This does not appear in the New Testament.
  • agape is the type of love expressed by God. It is unconditional and it serves others. 
Love, however, can become negative and self serving. We can fall in love with ourselves or with the flattery offered by others. It becomes negative because we are imperfect human beings. We can be easily swayed by flattery because of our insecurities.

Love, when it is right, is "the most beautiful expression of our human nature," Father Paul said. "It is kind and patient. Jesus commands us to love. We have to have love for all people." 

It's not always easy to have love for all people. "Only God can live perfect love. Can we love other people for their own sake and not for what we get out of it? Can we love other people with their imperfections?"

If we loved unconditionally, would we gossip about other people? Would we post disparaging things on the internet and call people names that we don't want to be called? Would we harbor anger and express slanderous thoughts? Could we love other people because they are sons and daughters of God?

We are human and we fail to express unconditional love because it seems to be too hard for us. Father Paul suggested letting Christ lead us into greater depths of love. We are human and we can grow and we can change for the better.

Next week: The Rev. Canon Earle King of Saint Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church shares a reflection on joy and peace.





1 comment:

Alana said...

I certainly do not have love for all people. How can I love someone who has hurt me or my family? How can I love someone who hates me just because of the religion I was born into? Loving one another is an ideal, but I am increasingly pessimistic that it will ever be a large part of how we humans behave.

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