By Rev. John Janka
Even before we have speech, someone says to us the words we long to hear for the rest of our lives. “I love you.” In his letter to the congregation in Corinth, Paul is attempting to referee a contentious people. A competitive people about who is living the superior spiritual life. Love is patient kind, rejoices in the truth, Paul said. It is not envious, rude or boastful. It does not insist on its own way. Paul is trying to lift the vision of the people and help them understand how love behaves.
Love is a gift, even greater than faith or hope.
Paul is saying the journey we are on is not about power of standing or prestige. What really matters on the journey is that we love one another. This was as counter-cultural then as it is now.
I wonder about our leaders, who so casually claim deep religious convictions yet whose behavior suggests a vacuous spirituality. I wonder if they have read this book, in the book we deem as holy. I wonder if love snuck in the side door of the halls of power, what might be different?
Love, real honest-to-God love demands justice. It demands caring for the common good and it requires us to ensure that everyone has enough. Love is why people get on a bus and go to Ferguson, or to our nation’s capital for a die in the congregational cafeteria. When love sees something wrong, it is compelled to act.
I am convinced that every seed of love we sow, every act of compassion, every word of kindness, no matter how small, when gathered together can set right an outrageous wrong.
Love wins, every time.
The Rev. John Janka is ordained in the United Methodist Church and is a consultant to congregations and clergy. John is the Executive Director of The Middle Project, which trains ethical leaders to work for a more just society.