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What do you remember of 50 years ago? Of course, you might not have been around then – or if you were involved in the ‘Summer of Love’ of June 1967, there may be reasons you can’t remember it! It totally passed me by – a mere 17 year-old, I was either behind a bank counter, in Church, on the cricket field or trainspotting!

50 years ago, on 1st June 1967, the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album was released. On 18th, Jimi Hendrix made his US debut, the very same day as The Who made theirs. In that month, McDonald’s opened their first restaurant outside the States; the USSR and US both launched the first probes to Venus; China exploded its first hydrogen bomb; and June 1967 also saw Israel’s Six Day War. It wasn’t a ‘summer of love’ for everyone, and much of what happened at that time continues to influence life today, half a century later, for good or ill.

I’m preparing for a wedding at the moment, and the Bible reading is all about love – the famous 13th chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. The words are beautiful: love is patient, love is kind; love never ends, etc. But they are very tough words to live up to. Paul says that love is not envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, irritable or resentful. And it gets worse! He says: “If I give away all my possessions or even surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing – I am nothing”.

We all know the happy feeling which love brings, but the mistake made in the 1960s was to chase the happy feeling without doing the hard work of loving. In other words, that was a selfish kind of love, rather then the selfless examples Paul gives. Are things any different now? In the last 50 years, we have seen the rise of the consumerist society, the ‘me’ generation that knows what it wants, and wants it today. We know that’s true, but thankfully we know that not everyone is like that. In our Villages there are lots of people who help others without seeking anything in return; work hard in the community or Church for the sheer joy of it; and are true examples of Paul’s kind of love. So I say thank you in Jesus’ name to all of you for all you do.

When St. Paul writes “Love never ends”, what does he mean? Love is eternal because God is love, and when all’s said & done (or not done!) what’s left is love. So if you want to build something that really lasts – an object, a relationship, a community – build it with love…. the tough kind. Let’s make 2017 a summer of love!

Yours in Jesus

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