If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NRSV)
I must confess that I was once one of those parents who didn’t want their kids to hang out with “those kids.”
I was afraid. I wanted to protect them.
But rather than taking the time to get to know the other kids, I simply sought to keep mine away. The more I tried, the more they resisted. And one day my youngest daughter said to me, “Mommy, you are supposed to be a pastor. You’re not supposed to be judging people.”
She was right. And I was convicted to see her friends through her eyes and with her heart. She loved them, so I too learned to love them.
I have learned to love unconditionally because of my children. It is not easy. There has been no fairytale ending. Fear distracts me. Disappointment pulls me into despair. Violence, death, illness, unplanned pregnancies, addiction, mental illness—and more than I care to list here—have impacted my family.
But no matter what: love is. Deep, abiding, never-ending, forgiving and life-giving love sustains us daily.
And for this, I rejoice.
Loving God, thank you for loving us first. Thank you for your love made flesh. Thank you for the ability to love fully.