Known by our Love
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Grace, peace and love to you in Jesus name.
From my childhood church days, I can recall many songs the whole congregation would sing minus any form of hymnal or music sheet. Songs which were both simplistic in words but deeply rooted in strongly held convictions.
One of those familiar and affirming songs proclaimed, "They will know we are Christians by our love." Anyone remember that one?
The scene still remains fresh in my mind. The congregation was gathered around the communion table. Knowing the people who were in our community now as an adult, I marvel at how we gathered brown, black and white in color; young and old in age; single, married, divorced and widowed in marital status; employed and unemployed in work; gay, bisexual and straight in sexuality; liberal and conservative in political leanings; long time disciple and newly baptized in the waters. Together, as one, singing about the true mark of discipleship: Love.
So, what happened? How is it today Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, are now known more for our judgement? We are known for our intolerance of those who differ? Recognized by our ignorance and inability to reason? Characterized by our love for material wealth and affluence?
Now, in some ways the Christian faith receives a one sided characterization in the public arena. It seems the more judgmental and mean-spirited a group is the more likely they are to gain the attention on social media and the public discourse at large. Just as if it bleeds it leads dictates much of the news stories on television, the more intolerant the more likely to be included in the headlines.
Beyond what others say about the Christian faith, what do you say about the Christian faith? Or better put, how do you show the Christian faith, without using words?
Love is seen far more than it is spoken. Love gains wings when differences in humanity are celebrated and not exploited. Love is apparent when the downtrodden are uplifted; the forgotten are remembered; the famished are fed. Love is a verb. Love is practiced, not preached. Love is God. God is love.
May the world know we are Christians by our love for all humanity!
Love, Pastor G