A people of 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. 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." — 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Chapter 13 of First Corinthians is referred to as the Love Chapter. It's often spoken at weddings. And it works in that context. But it's also a text that's about so much more — it's about what it means to be the people of God. This morning we heard a message that challenged us to start thinking about those words in that context. It's how we represent Jesus Christ to the world.
Or it's how we should. But it isn't always how we do. But as Rev. Dr. Tim McConnell said this morning, "The church that forgot to love just isn't the church."
One of my favorite DC Talk songs, a song about what the church has become, begins with a quote from Brennan Manning, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Those words have always stuck with me because they are a reflection of the idea that we've lost love in our message, our actions, and our reflection of Jesus to the world. And that's deeply sad.
Before Paul penned those famous words in 1 Corinthians, Jesus offered this charge in John 13:35, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” But do we live by those words? Do I live by those words each day? Am I conveying that to the world around me?
If not, as Manning said, that's what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. If we claim to follow Jesus and take guidance from His teachings and the Word of the Lord, our lives should look that way, both as individuals and the church.