For the fourth time, the holidays came and went without my beloved James. Everywhere I seemed to look, there were reminders of him and the joy we shared and the terror of our battle with the cancer that horrifically tortured him until death mercifully let him go. There amongst the distracted holiday cheer and frenzy of shoppers partied legions of demons, compelling and encouraging us to participate in the futility of escaping the evils of society by contributing to them, urging us to satisfy our lust and greed for more. Always more.
In our ceaseless struggles for more, we too often fail to acquire the one thing we need most: Love. I have come to understand that the reason we don’t receive enough love is simply that we fail to give enough of it away. When love does battle, it doesn’t do it with a sword but with service and humility. I hear the cries declaring we’re making America great again and “taking the country back for Jesus”, but Jesus isn’t and was never here. While we were wiping out indigenous peoples, honing and exhibiting our accomplishments, compelling unbelievers to accept our religious dogma and idolizing our power over others, Jesus has been tirelessly washing the feet of his enemies and showing them he loves them through service, compassion, mercy and healing.
The New Testament bears witness to the many ways Christ tore down the established norms and radically illustrated God’s love for all people equally, without regard for their nationality, family, class, wealth, social status or sin. Clearly, “his ways are not our ways” (Is. 55:8). A significant number of self-proclaimed and self-deceived “Christian Americans” want us to build more walls and create more cultural divisions and nurture extreme divisiveness both domestic and foreign. Yet if America is going to pull off its illusion (delusion?) of being a “Christian nation”, it has to look at least a little bit like Christ. That isn’t the duty of its government or its never-successful efforts to legislate morality, but is the sole duty of its people. Today. Now. It starts with me and it starts with you.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit. Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” —1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NET
Live love. I want more.
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