Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The greatest of these is love


When I arrive, Stephen is seated at the piano talking with Matt and Isis and others from Dzieici. Anna and puppy are there as well. I finish setting up the elements for communion and the Dziecei folks head up to the gym to practice.

Stephen starts the service by playing Fire and Rain and then we all sing together Morning Has Broken. My main scripture this morning is I Corinthians 13.

Let me be clear at the start. I have my issues with Paul. Sometimes he’s clear and coherent in is arguments...and I still disagree. Sometimes he’s all over the map. And sometimes he’s just plain wrong. But sometimes gets it right. If a wedding has a Bible passage, more often than not, this is it.Some of the best words ever written about love, transcending theology or tradition. 

In this continuing Oscar season, it’s interesting to see how several of the films reflect  on love. 
Silver linings playbook....a movie that is quirky, comic, two people who live with bipolarity find love with each other. Romantic love between a man and a woman. And also how easy it is to miss what’s right in front of you sometimes...your search for love is focused somewhere else and right in front of you is the one who has the love that you need...
Amour....   a love between a man and woman, seen  over time and against the effects of time...a romance not around sexiness (not there’s anything wrong  with that) but the tender caring for another’s that body endures the ravages of aging and stroke...the tenderness that transcends the humiliation and indignity of the process
and Les Miz... the final words of the film are the words of the original author Victor Hugo ... to love another human being is to see the face of God...

Looking at 1 Corinthians 13, this is what I see:

*Preaching without love is pointless
* Social witness, political action without love is its own antithesis
      Any of us who have lived through this have seen how movements devour their own over issues of ideology or right thought.
      As I lived through the time of Occupy here,(was it only  year ago?) I had to have many conversations with people who felt like they had been cast out of their own movement over political differences, ideas, in a group that supposedly welcomed all without qualification. That division continues it be divisive even today when radical new working relationships  begin  to develop with former and currently active duty police.  Those who want to make relationships with police are seen as breaking discipline even though strategically it makes the most sense  to create working realtionships                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            * Any charity without love is meaningless
Worse, charity without love only maintains and sustains relationships of domination and power, making recipients subjects of abother’s narrative both literally and figuratively. 
* Finally, Church without love is a lie

Love is patient: anyone who’s ever been a parent knows what patience is like, anyone who’s been part of this community knows what patience feels like
 Love is kind; like in MIcah6:8: to love justice, to do kindness and to walk humbly with God... what we are called to be...
Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant (Paul do you hear yourself?) or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable (uh...that’s a hard one...) or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing,(No schadenfreude here...)
 But rejoices in the truth ...there can never be any real reconciliation,  without beginning with an agreement as to the truth of an experience, if not facts agreed to, the truth must be understood...
 It bears all things, ....that can be very hard...and can be used to hurt and control people..all that come before  must be in place before that  can begin to happen
Believes all things,...I get that...all any os us  ever see is a glimpse of the mind of can anyone say that and believe that someone else is gong to hell if they don’t believe the right thing, say the right words?
Hopes all things....hope is not optimism, not every day, in every way things are getting’s a radical theological we’ve said before, to have faith without  evidence and the  courage to work to make the evidence  change.
Endures all things.  At Ethel’s funeral, a man came forward. Told his story.... I robbed from her. I stole. I lied. But she never stopped lovng me. And that won in the end.... and that’s why i’m still here...
 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part;
 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
(Important to remember....only in part...on this side, that’s all we ever know..and as our love of someone grows,as our knowledge grows, what we don’t know grows as well...) the infinite reality that any one person is...                                                                                                                                                             
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. (Let’s hope)
 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
As the King James Version  says,  through a glass I sit here day after day what most people want is to be known, to have their story known and valued, just as it is..for us to know God, we must listen to, know one other.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. The greatest of these is love...
As I finish my reflection, the Dzieci have moved to the balcony and the corners of the church. From the balcony, Isis, a loud cry...echoed, responded too...primitive, primal..sounds weaving as they weave through the church until they have gathered in the rear of the church...processing down the aisle with a liturgical chant and movement until they have all gathered in front of the table..
(Later I will learn the chants were from the Norse creation myth and Swedish liturgical movement...)
The Dzieci silently gather and pass our offering plates...we sing the doxology and I lead us into Eucharist...I’m feeling a vibration, a buzzing deep inside, lifting me...and then we are in our circle and i say again, as I learned from Native American friends in Tulsa, a circle once made always remains...
Their invitation to help create a Passion Play is responded to well..we can do this together...
One of our visitors was baptized here, years ago...has come back to see where we are now...
Our session meets...almost ready to make a decision that is not our dream but a way to survive.. perhaps reframe our vision....but Jamie has yet one more idea...and we must try one more time...
The greatest of these is love....

Dzieci and West-Park

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