Love Sets us Apart2 min read

On March 21, 2015, I married the love of my life, Mrs. Samantha Topel. The ceremony was charming, the reception delightful, and of course, the bride was absolutely breathtaking. As thrilling as the wedding day was, the days leading up to it were … well … not so much fun. We had the regular hurdles: renting a reception hall, sending invitations, tasting the cake (actually, I quite enjoyed that part), but as theologically trained Lutheran teachers, we also spent a great deal of time picking out appropriate Scripture verses for our wedding. I will never forget the first thing Samantha said to me when choosing those readings: “We are not doing 1 Corinthians 13!” For those of you who haven’t memorized the entire Bible, 1 Corinthians 13 is sometimes called “the love chapter,” and the verses in question go something like this:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

I asked why she was so adamant that this not be read at our wedding. After all, it is a particularly pleasant section of Scripture, and we certainly wanted those attributes in our marriage. Her response was simple; “That verse isn’t meant for a husband and wife; that is what we do for everyone, every day.” As usual, she was right.

The love that is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13 is God’s command for us in all situations, with all people, and there is nowhere that I see these commands better executed than in the daily activities of a Lutheran school. I see teachers whose selflessness compels them to put in extra hours on nights and weekends so that their students succeed; principals who have the patience to meet with a concerned parent one minute, and clean up the accident in the bathroom the next; and students whose capacity for kindness and compassion never ceases to amaze me. Patience, kindness, trust, and hope are not just a part of God’s description of love; they are the hallmarks of Christian education. Small class sizes, new technology, and high test scores are all great, but it is love, the love of Christ, that sets our schools apart, and for me, that is the best part about serving in a Lutheran school.

[Tweet “It is the love of Christ that sets our Lutheran schools apart.”]

Photo (c) Cathy Yeulet/iStock

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About the Author

Matt Topel is the 8th Grade Teacher St. Matthew Lutheran School, Walled Lake

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