We’ve all known about ‘The Love Chapter’. It’s included in a passel of weddings, even involving folks who’d never enter a church with personal invitations from every member of the board of elders, the entire proceeds of last Sunday’s offering, and Sister Gladys’s promise not to play the organ.
Okay, parts of it are included.
Why cherry-pick certain verses from within a larger context of Scripture? It matches my preferences. The parts I don’t like – that get a little close to home – I just ignore. Conveniently leave them out.
Before finding strenuous fault with that, isn’t that precisely what’s been happening to school textbooks over several decades? Hasn’t the ‘less-savory, more Christian-oriented foolishness’ been systematically redacted from copies of American historical documents until what your grandchildren are being taught is breathtakingly alien to the truth you and I were taught once upon a time?
Don’t we tend to do that with things we hear? I mean, c’mon–since when does the entire statement ever get included in any self-respecting gossip? Or popular news report?
I know, right?
Why, then, the shock that the same might be happening with Scripture passages from The Bible?
Rhetorical. No one likes being faced with the inexorable results of his unease with and attempted manipulation of God’s truth.
Several days ago I saw the following devotional prayer surrounding a segment of The Love Chapter. Over your second cup, I’d like to include it here for you to read and absorb. Allow it to speak for itself.
“The Qualities of Love” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Dear Father, give me love! May I one day possess fully all the qualities of love, as did your son, Jesus, the Messiah!
“May I be patient and kind, not jealous or boastful, not arrogant or rude, not insisting on my own way, not ever irritable or resentful. May I rejoice always in what is right, never in anything that is wrong.
“Help me to bear all things and endure whatever I must, to trust in all circumstances, and to be hopeful in all trials. By Jesus’s authority I come to you, asking. Amen.”
If we were doing our best to practice this, how do you think the City of Baltimore might look this morning?
What might the Presidential, state and municipal races on all sides look like – and sound like – were things being done according to these few verses of The Love Chapter?
How about your work place?
How about your place of worship?
How about on Kellogg or Rock Road? In Dillons, Ross, Burlington, Walmart or Sam’s?
How about your home?
How about your heart?
Uncomfortable, I know. That happens any time we begin giving God’s Spirit freedom to dig around our foundations.
As a thoughtful way to jumpstart your day, though, just for laughs go back up and reread that little prayer. Give some thought to what it’s asking. Make it yours.
Then consider operating your day as best you’re able according to it’s direction. At day’s end, I’d be interested to know how different things go.
© D. Dean Boone, April 2015