1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
I love watching sports. I will watch a baseball game from beginning to end. I can’t pull myself away from a soccer match on TV. My wife avoids watching sports with me. My tension in these situations makes her feel uncomfortable. I’m a normally calm person whose tranquility dissolves during postseason baseball, almost any Sporting KC soccer match and a basketball game where I’m cheering for one of my teams or against the Kansas Jayhawks. As a side note I don’t normally enjoy other people’s misery, but I do relish the Jayhawks losing in basketball. The tension I have because of sports and my sheer joy at Kansas losing are not my strong suits!
She is impressed with how I will say something and the announcer says what I said almost verbatim when she does watch a game with me. Without fail she’ll give a small laugh and say, “You should have been a sports announcer.” I’m not sure if this is a compliment or making fun of me. It might be both. My dirty little secret is I know all the sports clichés and sports announcers are masters at using the cliché to make themselves sound smart. So I guess I must be effective!
We do, however, go to weddings together. We haven’t been to one in a while, mostly due to our friends being beyond the young marrying age and the ones who do have weddings are getting married in far off places that also happen to be far out of our budget. One of the most common readings used at weddings is 1 Corinthians 13. It is the one with “Love is patient, Love is kind…” My wife can predict what I‘m going to say if this is one of the chosen readings: “Don’t they know St. Paul wasn’t writing about romantic love?” “Why can’t they think of anything better?” and my uber-pompous “That’s so cliché!”
I’ll be the first to admit this is not fair of me. It’s a beautiful passage and describes a lot of what married couples do on a daily basis as expressions of love (my wife often has to be patient with me!). Patience, kindness, and truth are all building blocks of any good, healthy and loving relationship. Envy, arrogance and selfishness are stumbling blocks to a good, healthy and loving relationship.
However, St. Paul is talking about rooting yourself in God’s love. Without love our actions are noise. They mean nothing. Without love our life risks becoming a cliché. This all sounds great! Easy, right? It is until you have to drag yourself out of a warm bed when a cold and snowy bus stop awaits you. It’s not easy when a patient, coworker or supervisor is not kind or is rude.
Some of our most outwardly loving looking actions can be without love. There are common examples. A kind gesture you do for someone else can be without love if it is done to get something from that person later. Doing service work just as a resume’ builder can be another. If our work is done without love it is nothing. If our education is not done without love it is not worth the paper the diploma is written on.
Don’t let your life become a cliché. Be active, be faithful, be hopeful and most importantly be loving! Show love and affection to others. Have love at the center of everything you do.