Saturday, April 01, 2006

Exodus 2:23-3:15; Psalm 33; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13;
Mark 9:14-29

One of my favorite Bible passages is 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. It is a poignant, clear reminder of what Christians are supposed to be and do. In a world that often views Christians as close-minded, un-accepting, and generally unexciting people, this verse proclaims a joyous counterclaim: we are called to love, and to love wholly, fully, and with great gladness!

Love is one of the most simple, basic human needs. Yet often it is not fulfilled. I know many people who don’t feel loved. I have friends whom I’ve never heard utter that small, beautiful word. They talk about how their parents don’t love them, how their siblings get more love and attention. Some feel their parents are trying to buy them off with material things; others feel there’s no one who really cares. When they look for something to fill this empty, swallowing chasm in their hearts, they look in the wrong places – top of the line technology; a never-ending stream of music that screams loves, lusts, and dreams in words that are not their own; and sex and drugs. Often I see people broken behind their smiles, looking empty behind their eyes. What would it take simply to love these people? It wouldn’t take much to tell people we love them with honesty and sincerity in our eyes and in our hearts. It wouldn’t take much to act out the little things that really matter, the little favors that can mean a world of difference. What would it be like to love the world in all its heartbreaking sadness and imperfection – to love it for its possibilities, its potential? To love it for what it will become when Christ comes again?

I confess, I have a huge soft spot for all those Bible verses that speak of the “old things” passing away. I often lose faith in this world and in so many people. Lately even those whom I have always considered nearest and dearest, whom I would never expect to disappoint me, have let me down and left me jaded, secure only in myself and my God. (I suppose this is one of those things adults call “growing up.”) Sadly, my hermit-like urges are one of my greatest weaknesses. I often find myself content to be disconnected from the world and all who are in it. But God clearly says there is much more to Christianity than that. Love is not just a single thing, a simple relationship. It is a great, complex web tying his creation into one; it is the life for which every man and woman thirsts.

We are called to be patient with our parents while they search for the word to finish the sentence in the story they’ve told you time and time again. We are called to be kind to those who ridicule our beliefs and our values. We are called to be selfless, to forgive and forget when our friends take advantage of us (accidentally or purposefully). Love is everything we could ever hope to be and everything we could ever hope to be done for us – to always protect, trust, hope, and above all, persevere, even when odds are piled against us and we feel there is no one we could ever trust anymore, and it’s simply useless to hope because we’ll be let down, our spirits crushed with disappointment.

But nonetheless we look to God, and we smile, and we love. Because as Christians we know that love always perseveres, and in the end everything else shall pass away and bow before its glory.

Christine Merola

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