When Christians look for ways to live their faith, the two primary sources are Jesus and Paul. In the bible, Jesus has four books written about him, and Paul has several books written by him. While Jesus can be difficult - speaking in parables, answering questions with questions, that sort of thing - Paul is no-nonsense and straightforward. So for people who like things neat and tidy, Paul is often their go-to guy.
In one of his books, Paul talks about love (1 Corinthians 13). While the passage is often read at weddings, Paul's audience wasn't a celebratory gathering. It was a group of people trying to do the faith thing together. And they were having a lot of problems doing it.
The passage starts off describing what is often lifted up today as signs of faithfulness: outspokenness, eloquence, knowledge, sacrifice. But Paul doesn't lift them up as a way to be a better church or more faithful people. He tells them those things are meaningless without love. Meaningless.
Let's be honest. It is easier to be self-righteous than it is to love. It's more tempting to impress than it is to appreciate. We segregate rather than seek to understand. We dismiss rather than listen. And yet the church is called to love. People of faith are called to love.
So before we all break into a little Stephen Stills', here are a few questions to ponder this week:
As you go through your activities and interactions this week, note when and where you are most loving, and when or where is it hardest for you to love.
Is there anything consistent to note in either or both scenarios? For example, is it with a certain person or type of person that brings the best/worst out in you? Is it a particular role you have the makes it easier/harder to love?
How can you attempt to be more loving in the situations you find most challenging?
Don't forget to join us on Sunday for Scarf Bomb, Soup & Stout night, 4:30 pm!