JanAshtonDear All,

Love Changes Everything

On Sunday, 10 February at 10.30am at St Stephen’s Church we’re celebrating Love. We’ll have songs about love, readings about love and a Scratch choir (come at 4pm on Saturday to church on 9.2.19 to rehearse) will sing ‘Love Changes Everything’. One of the readings will be this one from 1 John Chapter 4 verse 7-10:

V7 ,Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. V8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

V9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

V10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Our Love Service celebrates Love in all its forms. All of us hold feelings for others, but these feelings differ according to the people and the circumstance. In the English language there is only one word to describe all of them: LOVE. But the Ancient Greeks had around 30 words to describe Love in all its shades and complexities. I’ve chosen seven of the most powerful of these words to describe this Love, which originates with God, and helps us be a caring passionate society. These are:

• Agape – the love of humanity

The kind of love which makes us sorrowful when we hear of a crisis in another nation (or our own); that makes us give our time or money to charity; and makes us feel connected to people we don’t know, simply on the basis of our shared experience as human beings.

• Storge – family love

The love a parent has for a child, or a child has for a favourite aunt or uncle. The love a foster parent feels for the children in her care and the love a grandparent feels for the child adopted by their son and daughter-in-law.

• Pragma – love which endures

The love between a married couple which develops over a long period of time. The love which endures in sickness and in health. The love which makes a friend care for their former school friend who has become vulnerable in later life.

• Philautia – self-respect

The love we give to ourselves. This is not vanity, like narcissism, but our joy in being true to our own values. The strength to care for ourselves so that we can in turn care for others.

• Philia – shared experience

The love we feel for people we strive with to achieve a shared goal – our co-workers, the players in a football or netball team, the soldiers in an army.

• Ludus – flirting, playful affection

The feelings we have when we test out what it might be like to be in love with someone. The fluttering heart and feelings of euphoria; the slightly dangerous sensation.

• Eros – romantic and erotic love

Based on sex and powerful magnetism. It’s the one which can get us into the most trouble. It can turn into other kinds of love – like pragma – but it starts as romance and attraction.

Sadly, on St Valentine’s Day, four days after our service, we only remember only the last two types of love. But the previous five forms of Love are equally to be celebrated. And they will be in our service. You’re invited, come on your own or with a partner. Candles can be lit, love heart biscuits eaten and a thank you given for the God given love, in all its forms, that we share.

- Revd. Jan Ashton
Vicar of Hightown, Liverpool

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