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Traveling with God: Week of February 3, 2019

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. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

 

Traveling with God Week of: February 3, 2019
Devotion

I once met a pastor who said he had to hold back rolling his eyes every time a couple wanted to use this passage for their wedding. "It's such a cliche," he bemoaned. "I try not to let couples use it anymore. I always encourage them to use something else, anything else, just so I don't have to hear this one again."

I was so surprised I didn't know how to respond. After all, Joel and I used this passage at our wedding. And who calls a part of scripture a cliche? Sure, perhaps some of the pieces of this passage have entered the cultural vernacular and become a bit overused and undervalued, turned into pithy sayings embroidered on pillows and put on vinyl wall hangings. Often the sentiment has become so separated from scripture that people know these words, but couldn't even name that they are from the Bible. But when heard in its original context, read from the Bible, used in a worship service, how could it be a cliche?

Furthermore, even if one could argue it is a cliche, I'm of the mind that some things are cliche for a reason. And these words about love? Well, they are classic and beautiful. As humans, it is rare that we will ever love perfectly. Unfortunately, sometimes we will be envious, boastful, arrogant or rude, even when we are doing our best to love. Sometimes we will insist on our own way, and be irritable or resentful. But on our better days - we won't be those things and will be patient and kind.

These words of scripture give us an ideal to strive for with our love. I think, rather than ignore them because they have become too common, we should desire to imprint them on our heart. We should let these words live outside of scripture, we should embroider them on throw pillows and decal them to our walls - because the more we see them the more we can try to live into them. And what a world it would be if we all did. 

Prayer

Loving and Gracious God, we know that you are love, and therefore you embody these words from 1 Corinthians. Help us to live into them as much as possible, to embody them as Jesus did. Help us to stand out in the noisy gongs and clanging cymbals of this world, as a still small voice that speaks in love. Amen.