Love Is a Practice

Roy Howard

Love is a practice, not a belief and certainly not just a feeling. Love is a set of habits learned over a lifetime.

I’m reminded of the story of two rabbis in conversation over drinks. The one says, “Do you love me?”

The other answers, “Yes, of course.”

“Do you know what hurts me?”

“No, how could I know that?”

And his friend responds, “You can’t love me if you don’t know what hurts me.”

When I heard that story it occurred to me that this is how it is when we love God and love neighbor. God says to us, “How can you love me if you don’t know what hurts me?”

What hurts God? A polluted creation, hungry children, broken families and lost people, wandering fearful and without hope. When we connect our lives with the things that hurt God, we actually grow in our love for God. It’s this essential connection that we desire in our common life together.

This is stewardship with love at the center. To borrow a phrase, all you need is love. Love God, love neighbor. Love yourself.

Source: Sermon (The Stewardship of Love) Oct. 23 2011 at Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville MD