FROM THE BISHOP
JAMES R. KING, JR.
Hello, beautiful people of South Georgia!
Over the years I have spoken to thousands of young people and mature adults in conference settings. Sometimes I asked those gathered what one word they would use to describe the kingdom of God in heaven. I found it amazing that with few exceptions the same words appeared. What was not surprising is that when I asked for a show of hands the word love outnumbered all the other words every time. I believe that love is such a popular theme in the world and in our lives because God is love. As children of God we are not at home until we are experiencing love in the deepest part of our being.
Love is food for the soul. Love is at the root of our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It is eternal, it is essential and it draws us to one another. Paul makes this point in Galatians 5:22 where he describes the fruit of the Spirit. The first fruit Paul names is love. This is no coincidence because Paul considered love to be the ultimate expression of God. When we love one another we are expressing a spiritual gift which is the presence of God. Jesus said the way people will be able to identify his followers is by the way they love one another (John 13:35).
Have you been around people or a person who appears to be unloving? How does it make you feel? I would suggest that experiencing an unloving person is like being placed in a situation where the oxygen is taken out of the room. It is hard to experience the fullness of life without love. God is the source of life and love, and when love is missing it hard to have true life.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I told them I love them … and I tried to show them that I love them but they said they did not believe me?” No matter how much someone may have been given love if the person chooses not to receive the loving act it does not count as a loving experience. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that faith is very important but love is the greatest gift of all. Faith is important because what you believe affects your interpretation of whether you are loved or not. People act on what they believe. What we do and what we say are important keys to transport love but faith has a role to play as well.
I was recently invited to the Agape Singers’ 25th Anniversary Concert. While serving as the pastor of Clark Memorial United Methodist Church a new choir was started. The choir was named the Agape Singers because agape is a Greek word for love. Agape is the kind of love that God has for us. My hope was that these singers would carry the greatest message of all to their listeners and that is a message of God’s love.
When people talk about the South Georgia Conference, I hope their description of us includes the word love.
Until next time, remember – God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest.
James R. King, Jr.