Dear friends in Christ,
This Sunday’s epistle brings us one of the greatest hits of the New Testament, mostly because it’s one of the readings of choice at just about every wedding. St. Paul writes in the first letter to the Corinthians, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.” In the context of weddings, it’s easy to read that as advice for marriage. And that’s not totally wrong.
But that’s not really what St. Paul was getting at. He was writing about Christian love – the self-sacrificing, generous, beautiful work of loving others as Christ first loved us. Of course, that love is essential in marriage. But it’s bigger than that.
We live in a noisy, chaotic world. It can often feel like our world is spinning out of control. This is what happens when love isn’t the foundation. St. Paul writes, “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” He’s talking about life in the church in this particular moment, but his passion to call us all to love is obviously bigger than what we do among other believers.
The scriptures call us to live always by the rule of love. It’s easier said than done. It’s easy to forget that Christian love is primarily action, not feeling. It’s easy to forget that we are called to love in every moment, with every person.
There’s a lot of loveless clanging and gonging in the halls of government, the studios of cable news, and, yes, even in the sacred walls of churches.
I can’t fix the world. But I can fix my heart, by God’s grace. If I can manage to love others as Christ first loved me, our world becomes a tiny bit more beautiful, that much more grace-filled.
This Sunday, I’m looking forward to hearing these familiar words. Not long before we remember that Jesus Christ called us to remember his outpoured love for us until he comes again, we will be reminded that day by day, we are called to make love our way.
I aim to gong and clang a bit less, and proclaim love a bit more. Will you join me?