1 Corinthians 13:1, Part 1

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. (1 Corinthians 13:1, NIV)

I used to like theater much more than I do now.  Now when I go, I discover an emptiness that I didn’t notice before I belonged to Christ.

The last secular show I remember going to was a famous show.  I don’t want to go into the plot, but throughout the show there was a motif of hitting a small drum in an overwhelmingly monotonous, rhythmic pattern, and chanting Alice-in-Wonderland-type nonsense.  The theme was the circle of life–reincarnation, if you will–and how you have to let go of everything, and everyone who you love to find peace.

In the most moving scene, the main character is struggling with his mother’s death.  He has given his life to the cause of meditation, and he hadn’t seen his mother in years.  He dances with his mother in a dream, and her memory disturbs his meditation, throws him off track to knowing ‘nothing-and-everything’.  The dance is the most beautiful I have ever seen of the struggle with loss, but in the end, he releases her, and she vanishes from him.  He releases not just his mother, but the memories of his mother.  He parts with his love for his mother, and he goes back to the brain-numbing chant and the rhythmic drum.

Reflecting on a resounding gong and clanging cymbal, this play came back to mind.  The idea of giving up love for knowledge, wisdom, peace, meditation . . whatever we give it up for, the idea of giving up love.

All-but-one religions throughout history have been chanting that you need to give up love.  Love of some kind.  Love for your neighbor, who believes differently than you.  Or love for your child, to sacrifice on the altar.  Or love for the foreigner, who you mistrust.  Or love for romance, to live a celibate life.  Or love for the poor, so they can be inferior to you.  Or love for family, to join a cult.  Or love for truth, to accept the lies of false peace.

All world religions that have ever been, all but one, always ask you most of all to give up the greatest love of all: your love for God. Sacrifice God.  Lay Him on the altar and burn Him for your dreams, ambitions, power, lust, pride, ideals, relationships, etc.

But . .

God is love. (1 John 4:16b, NIV)

Without His love, our lives really are nothing more than the zombifying beat of a drum.  There really is nothing to look forward to, only an endless circle of the repeat of the endless circle of the repeat . .

But His love changes all that.

Check out: He Chose the Nails, Max Lucado (an audio of the unabridged book is available through iTunes)

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. (1 Corinthians 13:1, NIV)

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