“In His holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints.” — Frederick Buechner
When she heard 1 Corinthians 13 for the first time, a friend asked, “That’s in the Bible?” “Absolutely,” I replied. “It’s rather well-known.” “Wow,” she said, “I never would have thought.” Upon hearing this, my first reaction was, “Where’ve you been all your life?” But after further reflection, this exchange highlighted a flaw in our common understanding.
“We have done so much with so little for so long, that now we can do anything with nothing.” — Motto of the Tactical Air Command, US Air Force
Have you ever made a major life change, and then found yourself in a less-than-ideal situation? Your new boss has a screw loose. Your new neighbors don’t have nearly the same funny friend-group potential of your last ones. Your new lunch buddies are stiff and boring compared to your last workplace. The task or location itself was an upgrade, but the people that came with it are a bummer.
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” — John Holmes
Jesus tells us the poor will always be with us. The current idea of eradicating poverty altogether seems futile in light of this statement, especially if we believe Jesus’ words to be true. However, the Bible’s emphasis on believers caring for the poor stands opposed to the notion that poverty cannot be eliminated.
“We have to restore the meaning of the word 'love.' We have been using it in a careless way. When we say, 'I love hamburgers,' we are not talking about love. We are talking about our appetite, our desire for hamburgers. We should not dramatize our speech and misuse words like that. We make words like 'love' sick that way. We have to make an effort to heal our language by using words carefully.” — Thich Nhat Hahn
Jesus is God, and God is Love. So if we replace “love” with “Jesus” in this passage from the Apostle Paul, here is what we get (English Standard Version):
“There is no word in our language which has been so much misused and prostituted as the word love . . . It has been made so empty that for many people love may mean no more than that two people have lived together for twenty years just without fighting more often than once a week.” — Erich Fromm
What does love look like?
Buying your wife flowers on a whim?
Loaning your car to a friend in need?
Calling your grandmother just to ask about her day?
Paying for the groceries of the single mother behind you in line?
"You can have the other words: chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I'll take grace. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'll take it. " — Mary Oliver
Jenny hunches over the crib, using her hands to spread her eyes wide so they’re comically large. “I’m gonna give myself wrinkles before my time,” she whispers as she contorts her eyebrows up and stretches her cheeks into a fish-face, wiggling her fingers with her thumbs in her ears.