So glad Elder Phil Robertson and Kathie are
here with us today! I was planning to go to
Wisconsin to check on my dear ones there.
But a medical emergency in New York led
differently. Thank you for your prayers. With
things now getting better and with cold
weather there, I am looking forward to Texas
sunshine soon.

On this Sabbath before Valentine’s Day, nine original bible
languages words for “love:”
Only one in Hebrew: ahava. But the Greeks had many words
for it. In the New Testament: agape refers to God’s
unconditional love; phileo refers to brotherly love we first
develop with siblings then with friends (especially in the
church family); and storge refers to domestic family love.
Five additional words outside the New Testament, but each
with rich and unique nuances. We’re all familiar with the
English words eros has produced; it refers to physical and
emotional love (and Song of Songs alludes to this a lot).
Philautia refers to self-love—there can be no giving of love
without self-care. We are also familiar with the English words
that come from xenia, the ancient Greek concept of
hospitality to strangers. Ludus is the playful love animals,
children, and young adults express to each other. And
pragma (from which we get the word pragmatic) refers to
mature love in long-term relationships.

Each of these eight Greek words for love took special
meaning for me this past week in New York:
Ludus and eros reminded me of our early days in the City,
when Connie and I flirted and were a young married couple.
In last week’s circumstances when we all flew from around
the country for one of our family members, storge (family
love) and pragma (mature couple love, as we took care
together of practical matters of interest to all of us) took
great importance. I witnessed phileo between our children,
between us and Connie’s sister, and we received it through
your prayers. As guests at the University, and seeing homeless
people on the streets, we both received, and gave, love
to the stranger (xenia). In the stress of an emergency, we all
had to exercise self-care (philautia), and we had to rely on
God’s unconditional agape love.


What are your circumstances? Through these eight Greek
words— playfulness (ludus), physical affection (eros),
commitment (pragma), generosity (xena), taking care of
yourself (philautia), connecting with family members (storge)
or with other human brothers and sisters (phileo), empathy
and a deeper relationship with God (agape)— through these
eight Greek words, look at how rich of love your world in fact
is! Which have you experienced? Which do you currently
have and appreciate? Which could you choose to develop
to have a more complete life of love?
The God who is the God of love (1 John 4: 8) wants you to
be complete and lacking in neither good things (Psalm 84:
11) from above (James 1: 17), nor in any good work
(Hebrews 13: 21).

Happy Valentine’s Day!
With love,
Pastor Sam