Archive for February 6th, 2013

“Dogs are known for being faithful to their masters, but a German shepherd named Ciccio, of Brindisi, Italy, exhibits a different sort of faith by attending Mass every day, a regularity that would shame most humans (especially in Europe). Ciccio used to go to church with his owner, and since her death, in a display of Pavlovian piety, he returns there every day when he hears the bells ring, supposedly hoping to see her again. We will not speculate on where Ciccio’s devotion (which might be called Fidoism) will lead; but the purity and simplicity of his faith can perhaps hold a lesson for many human believers.” (as reported in the National Review, February 11, 2013)

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But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.(Hebrews 3: 13, NIV)

“…The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”   (Exodus 34:6, KJV)

“Love is longsuffering…” (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Introduction:  The Word matters, words matter, and a faithful Biblical scholar and commentator knows both as Rev. Lockwood demonstrates in his Concordia Commentary on 1 Corinthians.  Below is part of  his commentary on one word from 1 Corinthians 13: 4.  The verse is usually rendered, “Love is patient…”.  The translation,  “patient”,  from the Greek, makrothuma, does not convey the meaning of the Greek.  Rev. Lockwood renders makrothuma, “long-suffering”.  Here is encouragement for today:

makrothuma:  When the Christian is longsuffering, “long-tempered” rather than short-tempered, he reflects and imitates God’s makrothumia (Romans 2: 4; 9: 22) and the example of Jesus (see Matthew 11 29)

Whereas English translations generally resort to adjectives in translating many of these verbs, the Greek has a dynamic quality well suited to the way love expresses itself in actions for the benefit of others. To love means to be (in Bonhoeffer’s words) the “one … for others.” Christian love expresses itself in outgoing, self-forgetful activity.

Love’s first and greatest characteristic is to be longsuffering (13:4).  In contrast to the feverish emotionalism of the heathen cults (12:2), Christian love is marked “not so much in the expression as in the extension of emotion, the drawing out, taming, literally the ‘lengthening’ (makro-) of emotion.  The Christian is not short-tempered, but longsuffering with others. In this he imitates God, who has always displayed longsuffering in his dealings with his people.  Paul was deeply conscious of how much he owed to the perfect patience (makrothumia) Christ Jesus had shown in his case (1 Tim 1:16). God’s longsuffering with his people is to be reflected, then, in the longsuffering Christians are to show one another.  Such longsuffering does not come naturally, nor may it be produced by “an arbitrary cultivation of the virtue of self-control.”   It is a gift from God, a fruit of God’s Spirit (Gal 5:22).

 In the fast-paced, achievement-oriented world entering the third millennium, when the spirit of the age tempts churches to look for quick and impressive results, it is salutary to reflect on the priority Paul accords to the love which expresses itself in being longsuffering, a love that can wait (cf. 1 Cor 1:7; 11:33; James 5:7-8).

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