Editorial note: I’m working on correcting spacing issues. Thank you for your patience in the meantime.
(Click above link for the Scripture texts upon which this sermon is based)
What is your capacity for love?[i]
A friend once sent me an email
of children’s answers to the question “What is love?”
There were all sorts of things in there, from love of pet dogs
to touching stories involving turtles and ice cream.
I think my favorite response was this:
“When my grandmother got arthritis,
she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.
So my grandfather does it for her all the time,
even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”
That is love, I suppose
— sacrificing all sorts of pride and comfort for the one you love.
Or how about this story, you may know it,
about a young couple, Della and Jim.
Della and Jim were very poor, but very much in love.
Each had one unique possession.
Della’s hair was her glory.
When she let it down, it almost served as a robe. That’s how it covered her.
Jim had a gold watch which had come down to him from his father
and it was his pride.
It was the day before Christmas, and Della had exactly
one dollar and eighty-seven cents to buy Jim a present.
So, she went out and cut her hair and sold it, for twenty dollars;
and with the money,
she bought a platinum chain for Jim’s heirloom pocket watch.
When Jim came home that night and saw Della’s head shorn.
He stopped, breathless.
It wasn’t that he didn’t like the way she looked, or loved her the less;
She was lovelier than ever. She moved him. Deep in his spirit.
Slowly he handed her his Christmas gift:
a set of expensive, tortoise-shell combs with jeweled edges for her hair.