Saturday, February 12, 2011

1st Corinthians 13- my "Valentine"

My life, my personal space, my spiritual journey, and my artistic output all seem to circle around a central theme... Love and it's multi-sidedness. The more I learn about love, the more I apologize first to God, then myself, and then others in my life. I have done (and still seem to do) some of the stupidest things for love- or for the thing I have defined as love. There are so many levels to this idea that, should I only take on the facet of love as it pertains to forgiveness, it would take my whole life to express the confusion I feel. But as a celebration of love, I would at least like to present a couple thoughts on Paul's expression of love in 1st Corinthians 13.

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. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

We all know this part, or have at least heard it somewhere...
Love is patient, 
love is kind. 
It does not envy, 
it does not boast, 
it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 
~ 1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version, ©2010)

Sounds a bit melodramatic, but it really is so simple it's explosive. Loving someone doesn't mean you agree with everything that they say, or act like they do. Sometimes loving someone means that you avoid them for a time, or completely change the relationship altogether. Strange, I know. My brother's group theBreax have a song in which the refrain is, "Why fall in love, when you can stand in it?" Stand in love. Unafraid. Peaceful. No pride. How profound.

Love is stronger than pride. If it is about being right. It's not love. If it is about being in control. It's not love. If you don't love yourself, you don't have a basis for comparison. I had to pray a lot before I could even look at myself without cringing. I was terrified of being by myself, and couldn't say no to anyone, for anything. I now understand that I have God in me, in my temple of a body, telling me that I am worth the honesty, hard work, and learning that must be done (this is all stuff I have to do for myself, before I can even talk to another human being at home, at work, onstage, relationships, etc.). But, by doing this work and admitting these truths, I am better able to see and love others. Truly. I love you is not a salutation. It takes love to stand up and say, "that's not acceptable to me", or, "I can't live your life, but I support you"... My wish is to show you love with my thoughts, words, and actions. I am working to do that more and more every day. I don't need the spotlight (thought I use it- I am kinda And I don't need crowds (sycophants have never "done it" for me). I need love though. I need to study it... to share it... to do it and receive it. No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, it means nothing without love as it's foundation.

Imagine, plan,
prepare, execute...
"And you will know them
by their fruit"

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