Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bethany Devotion III

A reading from 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

If you have been watching television at all this past month, then you have probably seen a commercial that has a familiar road as a fabulous foursome walks across the street, soon followed by a large crowd of people, coming together over music. The street is the famous Abbey Road in England, and the four young men, of course, are the Beatles—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. The commercial is advertizing the release of a video game called the Beatles Rockband, where people can use a special videogame controller to play alongside the famous rock group.
It is amazing that thirty-nine years after the band broke up their music still has the ability to speak to new generations, as people come together over such famous songs as “Let it Be,” “All you Need is Love,” and “Hey Jude.” You know, for all the controversy and ups and downs in this famous band’s career, the music still speaks true to us all these years later. John Lennon’s song, “All You Need is Love,” perhaps speaks the most true to me. The repeated refrain “All You Need is Love” echoes the words of Saint Paul from the scripture today. “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done,” John Lennon sings, and it is true. Saint Paul writes that even if I could speak with the tongues of angels! Angels! I would sound like a clanging gong—this loud, banging noise that rattles the brain almost—if I did not have love. Without love, nothing I can do would matter, it could not be done. It is love that drives forward all our heart’s desires, and enflames our speech with passion and truth. Love gives weight to our lives, meaning and power to our lives.
It is important to remember that this love is a gift from God. It is because God loved us first that we are able to love one another. In all we do, we must remember to love one another. God made us all in God’s own image. So when we have differences or disagreements, we have to remember to look past that and to see the image of God in the other person. And then, to reach out to that person with love.
And when times get tough for us, and when it seems all the color has drained out of the world and we are left with nothing, it is God’s love for us that will carry us through. Perhaps it is the love of a neighbor or friend or family member that will remind us of God’s love, or a favorite passage in scripture that can give us hope for better and brighter days.
So, as the Beatles music hits the charts again, bringing a whole new generation of fans, let us remember that no matter what happens in life, there is hope, faith, and love. And as Saint Paul—and Paul McCartney and John Lennon put to song—out of those three, “All you need is love! All you need is love! All you need is love, love, love is all you need!”

Let us pray: O God, King of the Universe, you gave us the gift of love so that we may share it with one another. Help us to see your love for us in our lives, open our eyes and our hearts to the work and movement of the Holy Spirit in this place. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.

And now, let us pray the prayer your Son taught us. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

And may the Lord bless you all on this day.


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