“If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing.
“If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 CEB
Did you read the text above? Really read it?
The guy sitting next to me at church Saturday evening harumphed – an audible, derisive sort of scoff – at the truth of it. He was genuinely surprised to hear this sort of thing coming from the Bible.
It’s great imagery.
Say what I will but words without love are just noise. And it’s not just about the tone or the sincerity; it’s about being truly genuine and coming from a place of deep compassion for the persons – every single one of them, friend and foe alike – who will hear what I say.
Look into the future if that’s your thing but if you don’t see through eyes of love you might as well be blind.
If my generosity isn’t fueled by love, I’m not being generous. I’d add that if there strings attached, it’s neither generous nor a gift.
The apostle Paul – formerly known as Saul, now known as St. Paul – is writing to a church divided and is calling for unity. The body of Christ – the sum total of all the followers of Jesus – is ONE. It’s made of many parts, all equally good, all absolutely necessary, each with different gifts. To treat any individual as less than, to ignore or dismiss another, is simply not the way of Christ.
How we treat each other – within the church or not, Christian or not, matters.
It’s something to consider.
Hearts at Faith United Church of Christ, February 2013. Photo: TLClark