Monday, May 6, 2013

Love Never Ends

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends."
I Corinthians 13: 4-8a 
English Standard Version  

     My first 'official' teaching post was with Memphis City Schools, Memphis, Tennessee. One day I gave a simple assignment... or, at least I thought so- illustrate your concept of LOVE. The setting was a High School art class. I expected to see hearts, the color red, graffiti, and unfortunately, a few disturbing images. Many of my students saw things that teenagers should not have to see. What happened surprised me. No one moved. Stillness. Finally, in the back of the class, a hand raised; it was one of my 'lonely hearts', a small girl with multiple piercings and hair color that changed weekly.
     "Mr. Carter, what if you don't know what love is?"

     Time stopped... I walked to my desk, picked up a Bible, and said, "Here is what one person said." I read the 13th Chapter of I Corinthians. I felt the atmosphere change as the quantum field in the room shifted. It was, for many of the students in that room, the first time they heard Truth in regard to love.

     Love is one of the many words our culture has devalued. I just finished reading Reclaiming Love by Ajith Fernando, a wonderful exposition on I Corinthians 13; it is a book that reminds me why definitions are important. Ajith Fernando worked with the poor, serving as the National Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka for thirty-five years. It is one thing to hear the truth about love and it is an all-together different thing to live a life of love. Reclaiming Love offers the reader with steps, examples, and testimonies from the author's life and other heroes of the faith by devoting a chapter to each principle articulated by the Apostle Paul. 

     "Love is typically presented as the defining feature of a Christian's lifestyle. Joy is presented as a basic result of being a Christian. Those who live in love experience joy- it immediately follows love in the list of the fruit of the Spirit in a person's life (Gal. 5:22)."

     The title of the book's final chapter sums up Reclaiming Love- 

It's Worth It! 

     And I can say, "Amen!"

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