What I’m Thinking: Great Expectation

Last Sunday, I advised everyone to take it easy on themselves and one another. This Sunday, I’m thinking about the hardest thing Christians have ever been asked to do: love.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about one of the most famous passages in the New Testament: the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:1-13), the hymn to love. “If I should speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

That’s something I’d be well advised to keep in mind as I begin these What I’m Thinking videos.

Last Sunday, I talked about the need for each of us to, well, at this moment, give ourselves a break, to recognize that we can make life harder for ourselves, that we can make life harder for one another when we are stressed, when we are in the midst of a crisis, as for example this latest wave of sickness that we’re calling the Omicron variant of COVID-19. And here I am quoting the Apostle Paul talking about the requirement to love. Let’s face it, asking people to love one another with the thoroughness and the earnestness that Paul specifies here: that’s asking a lot.

But is it asking enough?

The love of which Paul spoke is not a question of feeling or emotion. It’s not about romance. Indeed, the agape, the aloha, the love described by Paul here, by Jesus in the Gospels, by John in his letters, by other early Christians; that love is one of the most difficult things one can ask. It’s to set someone else’s interests at or above your own. It’s to recognize that when you have power or authority, when you’ve got skills and abilities, when you have talents and success, that those are to be employed for the benefit of others, not just for one’s self.

So is that a contradiction to what I said on Sunday? A little bit. Except that it is love that prompts us to give others that break, to not impose our sense of righteousness, our sense of right, upon them. It is love that will keep us from imposing unreasonable expectations upon ourselves. It is love that will build up the Body of Christ.

So yes: It is an over-the-top thing to ask. “Love one another as I have loved you,” as Jesus said. “Faith, hope, and love abide, these three,” wrote Paul. “The greatest of these is love.” It is Christianity’s first call and its last summons.

Love yourself. Love one another. Love God.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , | Posted on January 24, 2022

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