“If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2, CEB)
So, this is part of one of the most familiar passages in Paul’s writing, his teaching on the greatest spiritual gift – love. We hear in this text that, no matter what we possess; no matter what gifts we recognize, if we do not have and demonstrate the gift of love – everything else is nothing. That certainly fits with what we’ve been talking about here at church for a very long time.
We are fast-approaching the time of year when how we respond to this concept helps determine a lot of what we do over the next few weeks. Thanksgiving Day is coming up November 26th and Christmas Day falls just one month later. During this time of year we are, obviously, called to be thankful for the many blessings God has given us. We naturally want to gather with our families and celebrate the love we share with and for one another. We get really busy with cooking and shopping and planning and decorating. We may quickly be overcome by the whirlwind of activities and wonder why we decided to do so much again this year. By the time Christmas Eve gets here we may be too exhausted to enjoy the fruit of all that labor.
Now is when we need to hear Paul’s words again. It doesn’t matter what we have or what we do, if we don’t have love we are wasting our time. He is not talking about “touchy-feely” love; he’s not talking about “love” we have for our favorite turkey stuffing, sweet potato, or Grandma’s pie recipe. He is talking about the unconditional, agápe love that God has for us. This is love in its truest sense – the love of God for humanity; a love that is so complete that nothing we do can take it away. Paul challenges us to realize that all our good intentions and all our good works and all our faith and prayer is worthless unless we also have and demonstrate this kind of agápe love. So, I posit this: this holiday “season of love” is our chance to show that we do indeed have love and that we are not like a “clanging gong or a clashing cymbal.”
I invite you to get involved in our annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner project. Bake a pie, cook a turkey, help in the kitchen, or deliver meals. Your Thanksgiving Day will be fuller and richer and more blessed than ever when you give your morning to this beautiful mission. I know, it’s Thanksgiving Day and you’re having a houseful of people over for dinner and you’ve got tons to do to get ready. No worries! I guarantee you can do this and that and not be stressed because God’s blessing will fill your day.
I also realize that we each have different gifts and abilities. There are many ways for us to demonstrate love as part of this community effort. Please do not think that your ability is inadequate or that your gift may be too small. Everyone can play a role in this wonderful project. Please contact Charlene or Katherine Reeves to find out how you can show your love.
Also, be looking for information about the ways we plan to demonstrate God’s love during the Christmas season. Once Thanksgiving Day is past, we’ll be talking about how we will celebrate the birth of Christ by bringing Jesus to some deserving people in our community.