What is love? Chris and Catrin have heard this question several times in the last few months as we have met together. We’re accustomed to thinking of love as an emotion, something we feel. As we opened Scripture and looked at the picture it paints of life in this world, we learned that love is not an emotion. Love is an action; love is a verb. Love is certainly tied in with emotions, but love manifests itself in action. Love demonstrates itself in how we act towards one another. That’s what St. Paul was driving home in his great “love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient and kind, it does not envy, it keeps no record of wrongs and all the rest. Chris and Catrin, the love you feel for one another today will change. Ask your parents. The love they have for one another now is different from the honeymoon phase puppy love they had years ago at their own weddings. The emotional side of love is now deeper, rooted less in how one makes the other feel and more in how much both realize that the person to whom they are married is the fulfillment of God’s Word in Eden: “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” All of us who are married can speak to that. Love changes and matures. Love as an emotion changes. Love as an action does not change. The actions themselves may change, but love will always be manifested in its purest form as an action.
Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.