Greetings from the Moderator FEBRUARY 2019
It’s February, and love is in the air! Surely you have sensed. Perhaps you have felt it. Certainly you have seen it. Stores are stocked with sweet treats. Aisles are arranged with hearts of every kind. Florists have made available bargain bouquets. Jewelers say they have just the right gift for the one you love.
The shortest month of the year has been set aside to highlight that four letter word that is often misused and misunderstood by many. When asked to define love, many speak of sentimental feelings that cause hearts to flutter and feet to skip to imaginary beats powered by energy that turns frowns upside down. While the affection of love is the focus of the month, the expression of love should last all year long. Indeed, the greatest commandment of all time demands that we bear the fruit of love three-hundred sixty-five days a year.
When we live out the greatest commandment, we sacrifice our time, we sacrifice our resources, we even sacrifice our lives that others might live and have what they need to survive and enjoy life in this world. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. did just that. He was willing to speak up and spend nights in jail out of love for humanity. He was willing to lose sleep and ultimately lose his life as an act of love for God and for all of God’s children.
As he reflected on the power of nonviolent social action in his address titled, “The Challenges Facing A New Age,” Dr. King said, “We have before us a glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.” I believe that opportunity is still before us.
The heartfelt cry of every human heart is to be loved. In a world filled with hurt, hate, envy, and anger, love stands out as a ray of hope. The God kind of love that we have received and are called to share, serves as a healing balm that soothes and binds up wounds. It helps us to hold on in times of distress; encourages us when we are discouraged, and lifts us up when situations in our lives leave us feeling low.
Love is powerful. Its practice in word and deed has changed the course of many lives. As we seek to live in relationship with one another and as we serve God and our communities, may we have hearts that long to reach others with the love of our Lord.
Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Erika Rembert Smith
 “Facing the Challenge of a New Age,” Address Delivered at the First Annual Institute on Nonviolence and Social Change in The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Volume III: Birth of a New Age, December 1955-December 1956, First Edition; Martin Luther King Jr., author; Clayborne Carson, Stewart Burns, Susan Carson, Pete Holloran, and Dana L. H. Powell, editors; University of California Press at Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1997.