Day 26

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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. 9 We know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. 12 Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. 13 Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 CEB

Love never fails.  

Love never fails.

Surely we have all noticed how much failure surrounds us, right?

We fail at loving well; we fail to DO courageous things.  I certainly do.

But this statement “love never fails” is a promise and a clarion call.  We must keep trying to love, believing that no matter how bad it looks or things seem, God has told us that “love never fails”.


Day 25

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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. 9 We know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. 12 Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. 13 Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 CEB

Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things…within the limits of loving like God, caring about who and what God cares about, reflecting God through our own lives.

These limits protect us and others.  These limits require that relationships are respectful, nonviolent, sacrificial and cherishing.  These limits mean that we do NOT put up with abuse and neglect.  These limits mean we do NOT trust in things beyond the scope of righteousness.  We do NOT endure abuse or remain silent when others are being abused.  

Love isn’t a lap dog to power run amok.

What does love put up with, trust in, hope for and endure?  The hard work of loving the unlovely; the intentional efforts to take up the cause of the marginalized and disenfranchised.  It’s all very difficult, but it is what love requires.


Day 24

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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. 9 We know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. 12 Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. 13 Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 CEB

Love is happy with the truth, but we humans sure resist it.  I get confused sometimes and wonder if there are competing truths.  For example, it is true that I wanted to be with my mom the last few days of her life; I also wanted to be present and available for my daughter as she gave birth to my mom’s first great grandchild.  These are two true statements, but I don’t think either qualify as THE TRUTH, as spoken of in this passage.  THE TRUTH is about living and applying the principles that spring forth from an understanding of this passage.  As I made my gut wrenching decisions on a day-to-day basis, like leaving and going to Atlanta the week before Meredith’s expected due date, I did my best to rely on my inspired way of seeing, and not make choices based on my preferences.  My preferences are fickle.  They are easily swayed by the emotional pleas of others.  I must make decisions and accept responsibility for allowing God’s word to speak into my life and act accordingly.  I do not believe there was one right and one wrong decision, I just had to take each day as it came and take one next step.  The entire two weeks I shuffled back and forth were completely torturous, but it was the best I could do.  What would have been wrong, in my opinion, would have been to make my decisions based on how others might respond to my choices.  But it was all quite a trial.

The only solace for me is found when I pause to prepare, remember that love is happy with the truth, and do the hard work of figuring out what that means for me based on my certain way of seeing – as a faithful follower of Christ, not a slave to the opinions of others or even my own feelings.


Day 23

Yesterday I focused on the verse in 1 Corinthians that says “love is unhappy with injustice”, and I used Colin Kaepernick’s controversial decision to sit through the singing of the National Anthem as a talking point on this subject.  

 

This is how Kaepernick explained his actions – “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick said that he is aware of what he is doing and that he knows it will not sit well with a lot of people, including the 49ers. He said that he did not inform the club or anyone affiliated with the team of his intentions to protest the national anthem….”This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he said. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”  Kaepernick said that he has thought about going public with his feelings for a while but that “I felt that I needed to understand the situation better.” He said that he has discussed his feelings with his family and, after months of witnessing some of the civil unrest in the U.S., decided to be more active and involved in rights for black people. Kaepernick, who is biracial, was adopted and raised by white parents and siblings. (click here for a link to the article)

He went on to say that he had great respect for all our Armed Forces, but he had to speak out against injustice.  

People really didn’t like this.  They burned his jersey, there is talk that he will be cut from the 49ers.  I hate it to, this idea of sitting during the singing of our National Anthem.

But I also hate the way we are still a nation of racial inequality; gender bias exists; intolerance abounds.  Somebody has got to something, and this one guy at least tried.

Love hates injustice.  It just does.  Maybe if we would all find ways to eliminate it, we wouldn’t have to take up our valuable sports news time (this is sarcastic fyi) on matters such as this, and our quarterbacks could be focused on entertaining us with their prowess on the field.


Day 22

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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. 9 We know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. 12 Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. 13 Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 CEB

Love is not happy with injustice.  Again, this sounds so obvious.  But guess what?  It isn’t!  

I’ve been on the road traveling to and from Atlanta because of my mom’s declining health and eventual death.  I have listened to a lot of sports radio on the trips Pete was with me.  During the preseason football season, a quarterback by the name of Colin Kaepernick sat in silent protest during the pregame singing of the national anthem. Tomorrow I will share his perspective on the decision to protest.  Today, I want to say that many people have been all over the place with their response to his actions. Many felt he was disrespectful; others said rich guys like him should shut up; others said it didn’t matter whether or not he had money, if he got pulled over for driving a $100,000.00 car his skin tone would mean that he would be more likely to be asked where he got the car than complimented on how sweet his ride was.   

 

One person in particular caught my attention.  Jemele Hill spoke eloquently during a segment called “His and Hers” on ESPN radio.  She pointed out that we need to listen and learn from one another.  She talked about how the symbols of our country may be received differently depending on one’s race.  The documents that declared our freedom did not initially declare freedom for all, did they?  Her balanced and decidedly patriotic viewpoint was tempered by a call to listen to others.  She reminded us that whether or not we agree with what Kaepernick did, isn’t it what we ask of all Americans?  Don’t we want people who have privilege and a voice to speak on behalf of those who do not?  Isn’t this the American way?  To stand up for the marginalized and disenfranchised?  We are called to be unhappy with injustice.  This is uncomfortable and awkward.  But even if we disagree on the way Kaepernick protested, his nonviolent protest was done on behalf of those who are being oppressed.  This is our responsibility.  Whoever, wherever, whenever anyone anywhere is being treated unfairly, our job is to be unhappy with injustice.  It’s also ok to be unhappy with Kapaernick…but what is NOT ok is for us to be complacent about injustice.

 

To be continued….


Day 21

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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. 9 We know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. 12 Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. 13 Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 CEB

Love doesn’t keep a record of complaints; however, people do it anyway and I am among them.  I keep a record of complaints.  This is not good.  It increases the likelihood that when someone I love does something naughty or annoying, I tend to add it to the list of already growing complaints.  My response to the present day issue is exaggerated and overblown.  I need to work on this – how about you?

Fortunately, with an eye on this being the work of an entire community, as we ask for loving accountability when we ruminate over our complaints, usually there is someone to take our misdirected energy and help us refocus on the love.  Which is pretty awesome, don’t you think?


Day 20

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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. 9 We know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. 12 Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. 13 Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 CEB

 

Love isn’t irritable.  Oh yeah?  Again, I got nothing.  I have been very irritable during this season of grief and loss.  I’m gratefully relying on the patience of those who love me well to bear with me during this season of irritability.  Maybe the next time around when I use this verse devotionally, I can have better material for you guys!  For today, if you happen to know a daughter who is grieving the loss of her mommy, thank you for your patience when she MIGHT be a bit distracted and irritable.❤

On a more beautiful note – can I tell you how awesome community is?  Everyone has stepped in and covered for me and mine – time and time again.  One of our beloved community members lost a sister-in-law this week in a tragic accident – the community has stepped into that grief and ministered in ways that go far beyond what my own limited emotional resources have available at the moment.  But this is the moment when love and care and fried chicken is needed – and the community has made that happen even when my irritable self has limited capacity for much of anything productive.

This is what this chapter is talking about.  Thank God!