25 January 2010

Love is...

Rev. Ian Doescher, Calvary Presbyterian Church, Portland Oregon

One of the lectionary texts for this Sunday is 1 Corinthians 13. Many of us know it well enough to say it in our sleep. For me, it’s ingrained in my head in the words used by Take 6 in their 1990 song “I L-O-V-E U”: “Love is patient, love is kind, love has no envy, love is not proud, love behaves, love is not selfish or easily provoked, love is not evil, love shares truth instead of spreading lies, love bears
all, love believes all, love endures all, love is hope for all, love never fails.”

This passage about love is one of the most overused scripture passages for weddings, even though the context of two people joining together in marriage is far different than Paul’s context of teaching the Corinthian church about the church body. The passage lists several features of love, and is indeed beautiful whether we’re talking about romantic love or Christian love. But given current debates over gays and lesbians in the church, gay marriage, ordination of lesbians and gays, and so on, I’m always fascinated by what the passage doesn’t say love is. Just imagine: “Love is hetero, love is married, love has borders, love is sanctioned only by law, love is for one man and one woman, love is privileged, love is only for the perfect, love excludes, love bears some, love believes little, love endures no challenge, love is hope for few, love sometimes fails.”

That isn’t what Paul wrote. Even within his original context, writing for the Corinthians, Paul didn’t say that love means some people in the body of the church exclude others. Paul didn’t say love doesn’t always work. Until our churches are fully open and welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and transgender people, we’ve entirely missed the point of 1 Corinthians 13, not to mention the point of love.

01 January 2010

The New Year

Friends, when you see these things happening, then you will know that the kingdom of God indeed is NEAR! We pray for this new reality this new year.