The importance of loving and being loved

I am reminded as I write this article about the importance of love (we are just a week or so away from St Valentine’s Day): how does love show up in our lives?

Today I was reading from a famous bible reading – 1 Corinthians 13 – often used at weddings; I also find the words beautiful at funerals too.

Love is patient. That means how patient am I (not my best trait – if you ever see me in a queue, I am itching to get the front). Love is about not barging in; it’s about waiting.

Sometimes we may want to say something: perhaps it’s not so loving, it could be a nasty remark.

Before that comes out of our mouths, we need to have that patient, waiting attitude and the words then hopefully will be nicer and more thought through (emails can be notorious for this).

Love is kind. Being kind is something I try to do as much as possible. Kindness also takes a lot of practice.

When we are angered, it is difficult to be kind. Back in 2019, #bekind was trending because we had lost our way in the media (we still have lost our way: there are cruel social media posts out there).

Kindness is all about love. Love does not envy (I need to practise this too).

Love does not boast (look at me, how great am I... NOT).

Love is not self-seeking (it thinks of others before itself).

Love is not easily angered (but get angry if needed, if it’s right anger when we protest against cruelty, climate change, etc.).

Love keeps no record of wrongs (again, practising this one too, how easy is it to bring up a past hurt in an argument?).

Love rejoices in the truth, not delighting in evil (the truth will out).

Love always protects, love always trusts, love always hopes and love always perseveres.

We may only have one word in English for love, yet here is a great way of acting in love for ourselves, our community and our world.

It means we all have some work to do (I can see my to-do list as I write).

I have seen much of this love in all our key workers over 2020/21 – those bold words really sum up what we have witnessed from them.

May March bring hope alive in us again and as we carry on, may our love grow richer and fuller.

Revd. Helen Rengert
Team Rector, Reepham and Wensum Valley Team Churches
Chaplain Reepham Sixth Form College
Young Vocations Champion and Vocations Adviser, Diocese of Norwich