Dear Church family members and friends,
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”
-1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (The Message)
After the love-filled Sunday worship that we shared yesterday in which Jim and James Ortega and Susie Krueger offered “You Raise Me Up” as a musical offering, I was reminded of a Chimes article that I shared more than 5 years ago. What follows is that article (with several updates and edits)
I have a friend who served as custodian in another church, who once admitted that when all of us started e-mailing and texting and then tweeting or using any other electronic communication or social media, she didn’t know what people meant when they used “LOL” in their message.
Many people use these three letters to communicate “Laugh Out Loud”. My friend, however, interpreted “LOL” as “Lots Of Love”. From what she told me, this mistake continued for several years, and it was a source of laughter in her family who did not tell her that her interpretation was different from everyone else.
She used “LOL” to convey support, compassion, caring, understanding, and affection to her friends and neighbors. Well, I have to tell you that I have come to believe that she was correct all along. And I believe Scripture supports me.
Here in our congregation, there has been “Lots Of Love” for 176 years and especially in the last 2 years when the COVID pandemic required us to find different ways to stay connected and to share support in different, but still very loving ways. LOL.
Juanita Edington, our choir director, became our video guru who put together a virtual Service of Worship every Sunday. The hours spent in learning new skills, editing, and sharing our worship with the Watertown television station and on Facebook and with Marquart Village and the church website and to every church member through email. LOL.
Melissa Mattke, our director of Children and Youth ministries has invested untold energy and countless hours to ensure that our Sunday School is not only a safe place for our children, but also a loving home. From September to June, the Sunday School and the Youth Group met weekly via Zoom. The families who were involved found the programs to be uplifting, safe, and loving. LOL.
And now we are able to worship together safely because we follow necessary protocols to keep everyone safe from COVID. It isn’t perfect yet, but it is an important step forward. We are here with and for each other. LOL
And how wonderful our worship is. As Jim, James and Susie reminded us when they shared “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban: “When I am down and oh my soul so weary. When troubles come and my heart burdened be. Then I am still and wait here in the silence. Until you come and sit a while with me. You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas.” Now that is who we are as a church. That represents Lots of Love!
Thank you to all of you who keep showing us the truth found in Scripture: “So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:3
--Pastor Stephen Welch