Psalms 33, 102, 108
1 Corinthians 12:1-13
As some of you may know I was arrested this past year for participating in a nonviolent direct action. In order to prepare for this protest, I chose to take part in nonviolence trainings. Initially, I did not think that I would get a lot out of these trainings because I chose to be a pacifist when I was a sophomore in high school. So, I thought I knew what it meant to be nonviolent and why people should embrace those principles. At that time, God impressed upon me that if I was to embrace the Biblical principle of love, then I had to recognize that I could not harm those I loved. But, even though I had participated in protests before, I had never truly faced a situation where I saw that violence (getting arrested) could, maybe, achieve something.
As we prepared for the possibility of arrest in these trainings, several things were said that impressed upon me how impossible it is to separate love from what we are doing. The thing that most impressed me in these trainings, though, was the assertion that, no matter what we do, it must be done in love. Our trainer said that, unless those who took action did so with love, any gains they made would ultimately be destroyed, washed out by the memory of how those gains were achieved.
In the same way, I find this sentiment in the final verse of today’s reading in 1 Corinthians. Paul tells us that, in the end, faith, hope, and love are all that will remain; but, he asserts, the greatest of those is love. I am still learning why I hold to nonviolence, but in that training I felt the theory of it connect deeply with my own Christian beliefs. I think that part of what allowed this to happen was the stress that I was under, a similar stress to what many of us may feel during Lent. So, it is my hope that during this Lent we may have the opportunity to connect our everyday lives to our spiritual lives.