Last week was a time of separation, disowning, distancing and many many words. The few that were directed towards me suggested that my mind was incapable of complex thinking, and could only manage these basic blogs I write most weeks. At one point in my life, my head was full of academic thinking, but now, I confess, things have been stripped down to simple truths.
When my life was changed by ill-health, what really mattered was also brought into sharp focus; faith, family and friends, bound up in LOVE. My brain has been made sluggish, but love has grown. Last week, as intellectual sparring reached its peak (and, if done in humility, there’s nothing wrong with that) I got to thinking about Christ. The Friend of sinners who told parables (that now provide hours of sermon material) and summed up all of the wordy commandments into two clear directions: love God, love your neighbour. As yourself.
I wonder how I would feel if a group of people decided that something I did meant I wasn’t allowed to belong with them? I wonder what would happen if everyone who desires to follow Christ began with that thought. Would the church claim its ragamuffin gospel again, would it remember that we are all in need of grace?
I know I may be accused of simplifying complicated, nuanced ideas, and that is probably true. However, I would contend that I am following in the footsteps of an excellent Teacher.
And He is LOVE.
‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing…Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.’ (1 Corinthians 13 v 1-8)