20 Aug 2017

Love your neighbor

When people asked Jesus which commandment He thought to be the greatest He said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. And He added that there was another commandment like the first one: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. These two commandments – one referring to God, another referring to people – combine everything that is said in the Law and through the prophets of God (Matthew 22:37-39). Comprehension of these commandments evokes many questions. What is love? How should we love? What does it mean to “love your neighbor”? How much do I love my neighbor? Senior pastor of “Philadelphia” church in Izhevsk was searching for these answers and shared them at the service on August 20.

What is love? Does the Bible give its definition? The Apostle Paul calls love “a perfect unity” in his Epistle to Colossians (Colossians 3:14). This could be called the best definition of love, but it still doesn’t describe love in a perfectly clear way. The pastor said that if we address this question to different people, to different ethnic groups, we will not find a mutually confirmed meaning of this notion.

However we might objectively say what kind of behavior is love and what is not. Our objectivity is based on the Holy Scripture, that’s why the pastor referred to the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the church in the city of Corinth (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud…” – the description of love takes the biggest part of the chapter 13. The pastor gave his comments on the first 4 verses, which say that the knowledge of tongues of men and angels, ability to speak well are simply hot air.  If I can see future, read minds, move mountains and have all the knowledge, but do not understand God’s love, I gain nothing. Love always leads to practical action. The pastor pointed out two first criteria of love in this description. A loving person is not only patient with clenched teeth, but has a forbearing heart, neglecting others’ shortcomings and mistakes with love and mercy.

After the sermon the church partook of the Holy Communion. According to the tradition the church took bread and wine and prayed remembering the death on the Cross and Resurrection.

Egor Gvozdikov


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