Valentines Day is just around the corner, but I must admit that I miss the way love used to be. We don't think or talk about love with that old fashioned charm that once warmed our hearts. Love used to be about romance, flowers, candy, sweet notes secretly passed between lovers as private, delightful gestures. Love was a treasured commodity at one time, something sought after, cherished and protected. Love, longed for, and then, finally claimed, was honored with constant care and affection.

But talk of love is different now. Conversation about love seems to be stuck somewhere between intensely practical and completely unrealistic. So much of life boils down to the everyday details that hold our lives together and love has become just one more of those practical applications that bind us to each other like crazy glue. The other way love is often considered is as a magical adventure between soul mates who never misunderstand or hurt one another and live happily ever after like characters in a children's fairy tale.

Personally, I find the former rather stifling and the latter more pressure than I could ever live with. While my head tells me there are a hundred and one things that truly need to be done every day, my heart is quite clear in expressing its needs as well, and those needs have a good bit invested in being attended to with warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit. Would that love might be a place to be extravagant, whimsical, delighted in all that we can do and be for the people we love best.

There is Biblical precedent for this rich display of God's greatest gift to humanity. I Corinthians 13, often quoted at weddings, offers a stunning portrait of what Paul's interpretation of how God's love looks, what it clearly does not resemble and how we make it visible. Deceptively simple, each verse offers a mirror to the reader to help them determine how well they are giving what they so dearly wish to receive for themselves.

For starters, love is second to nothing in its importance in our lives, including vast language skills, prophetic pronouncements, faith and martyrdom. Next, what love looks like is described in detail. Love is patient, kind, not jealous or boastful. Love is not arrogant or rude. Love doesn't push its own agenda, nor is it irritable or resentful. Love is happy when things go right, not when they go wrong. Love is very strong, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things. Love doesn't end.

Then Paul points out the things that aren't quite as important as love, telling us that while love endures, these other things eventually fall away. Things like prophecies, languages, knowledge don't last the way love does. Paul finally draws us to understand that love, while enduring, is also perfected in allowing ourselves to know and be known by God, and by extension, each other. It is in this rhythm, this dance of life to which we are called to be with each other, that we come to fully grasp what it means to love each other. While faith and hope are valid companions, love is the greatest, most abiding force in our world.

The question then, each to ourselves, is to figure out how much we are helping or hindering our own process in knowing and being known in the world's most extravagant of all adventures. Rather than wondering what our beloved is going to present us with this Valentines Day, perhaps we can set aside some time to think about our own ideas of love and how they inform our daily lives with the people we love. We are constantly being reminded that our thoughts influence our lives as nothing else can. I believe this is true, and because of this truth we have a grand opportunity to reclaim some territory for that old fashioned, charming way of talking about love. You remember, that kind of love that endures, that inspires love songs and love letters. The kind of love that bears all things, believes in what can be and hopes with a full heart that all good things will come to pass.

Author's Bio: 

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay with a double major in Communication and the Arts and Social Change and Development and a minor in Women's Studies, was ordained into the ministry of the Moravian Church in North America after completing her Master of Divinity degree studies through Moravian Theological Seminary. Over twenty-five years of experience in individual and community ministries gives Rev. Kemp an informed perception about faith, its implications and struggles in everyday life. Rev. Kemp focuses her work on helping people understand their faith and how faith can become transformational in their lives. Bring authentic, meaningful faith into your daily life by visiting