If I know every scripture and prayer, but I have not love I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I go to church every single week, and preach to my friends, and know more than everyone else about God, and have every answer, but have not love, I am nothing. If I speak my mind on social media, and rant against everything I do not like, and set myself apart from everyone not like me, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love takes its time and is kind and compassionate; love is not bitter or proud; it is not superior, egotistical, or ill-mannered. It does not judge. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful or loud; it does not celebrate the misfortune of others; but celebrates the truth. Love carries all things, trusts all things, anticipates all things, suffers all things.
Love lasts forever. As for predictions of judgment, they will pass away; as for unfamiliar words, they will end; as for knowing everything, it will be terminated. For we don’t know everything, but only part, and when Christ is present, even the pieces we know do not matter. When I was young, I acted like a child, I thought like a child, I threw tantrums like a child. When I was grown I saw I must give up my childish ways. Now, I cannot see everything, but one day I will see it all. Now, I only understand some things, but one day I will know fully…and my whole heart will be intimately and deeply known…every motive, every compassion, every word that flows from within it. So now belief, anticipation and love all three stand, but the greatest of these is love.
(My version of 1 Cor. 13)
I have been a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. I have spoken carelessly and not sought you out. I have not shown love. I have been a Pharisee. On most days I do not abide nor do I resemble this passage. When I substitute my name for the word love I see just how far I am from it. Lord, if I learn no other thing from this life which you have given me, I desire to learn to love like this passage…like you. My mind is so small and my heart so hard that I cannot even bear to look at it. I would much rather look around me than IN me. I would rather argue with others than to try to understand them. How did I get so far from you Lord? And how can I live this passage out when everyone around me is throwing stones at one another? I want to put down the stones. Please help me to put down the stones, not only word-stones, but thought-stones as well. I want to embrace and love as you do. Please give me the grace to do so. Help me to testify of your love for me by allowing my actions to speak. I need you now, we all need you now. Come and pour out your love for us. Unify us and help us all to embrace one another…and hug us close to your scarred side, and hold us with your scarred hands that show us that true love means sacrifice. Help us to listen to your heartbeat…ONLY your heartbeat. Amen.