Most of us have heard of the saying “Love makes the world go around.”
But what does that really mean? What do we understand by love?
The English language uses the word love to mean so many different things, whereas in Greek, love has several words to identify it.
Eros is the kind of love we immediately think of, referring to love lived through passion and sex.
Philia is the brotherly love we give to our family and friends.
Then there is agape, the selfless love that Jesus exemplified, when we give of ourselves to help others without expecting anything in return.
Those of you who watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding last month will recall the passionate address of American Episcopalian bishop Michael Curry, a man for whom love does indeed make the world go around.
Bishop Curry told the wedding guests that, ultimately, the source of love is God himself—the source of all of our loves.
He then quoted an old medieval poem with the line “Where true love is found, God himself is there.”
Bishop Curry also reminded us of some reassuring biblical wisdom.
“The New Testament says it this way: ‘Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God, and those who love are born of God and know God. Those who do not love do not know God. Why? For God is love.’ There’s power in love. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live,” Bishop Curry said.
Among the 686 references to love in the Bible, there are so many that give valuable advice for modern-day living.
In the Old Testament we read, “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling” (Exodus chapter 15, verse 13).
Surely these are words of great comfort when we feel lost and alone and uncertain of our futures.
Then there are the words from the New Testament that many brides and grooms have chosen to be read at their weddings.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians chapter 13, verses 4–8).
Selfless love drives The Salvation Army and countless Christians across the world to help those who have experienced too little love in their lifetimes. As Bishop Curry said, love comes from God and we humans are blessed to experience love in all its forms.