Saint Paul: On Seeing – (1st Corinthians 13)

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love; I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

 

Love never gives up.

Love care more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut.

Doesn’t have a swelled head.

Doesn’t force itself on others.

Isn’t always “me first.”

Doesn’t fly off the handle.

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.

Doesn’t revel when other grovel.

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.

Puts up with anything.

Trusts God always.

Always looks for the best.

Never looks back.

But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end, understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incomplete will be cancelled.

When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly, just as He knows us.

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in god, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

We see, but we don’t see. We see the little worlds and vision that define our world, our communities and ourselves. We see the surface, but we fail to see the depths of reality; the wonder of creation that we are part of. We are all blind, but think that we can see. Somehow, we equate seeing with the use of the eyes. We presume that we see everything around us and within us – but we are fooling ourselves. We create a very tiny vision that we can grasp quickly and presume that we have the whole picture; the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; and fail to understand that we see through the glass darkly – squinting and seeing shadows like Plato and presuming that the shadows are all that there is. We live in mystery and presume that we are Sherlock Holmes, uncovering the truth.

What we find is that the truth, like a beautiful rose, grows slowly and unfolds on petal at a time, revealing it’s beauty through color and aroma. Truth is like listening to a Symphony by Mozart or Beethoven or Bernstein; just listening and letting the music do it’s thing.  Truth is like watching small children running around, squealing and laughing, with large grins on their faces. Truth is lost in the technical analysis but found in just enjoying the experience and letting it touch the heart – the soul. It is found in the experience of birth and death – and the journey of life. We are called to bask in love and to love others without qualification; love cannot be earned; it cannot be bought or sold. This is the message of the Gospels – the Good News. God’s love just is. Creation is becoming, always moving forward and being amazed; standing in awe of the reality that we are the beloved – no matter what! The message is that God – cannot NOT love her creation. God can only watch as we fumble around, working to figure out out to earn God’s praise and rewards and not to anger her. We so often believe that our only goal in life is to appease an angry God. In the meantime, we forget how to really laugh, to dance, to accept the gift of love that is given in so many ways and to be grateful.

We get so wrapped in our little selves, and perhaps our family, tribe or nation, that we fail to see the big picture; of creation unfolding and to realize that we are part of that. Jesus calls us to become co-creators; caring for, loving our world and each other. We are called to receive life and then to give that life away; to see our cosmos, our galaxy, our universe and our world as blessed and holy; to see all of life as sacred and holy. We are called to understand that we are blind, groping our way towards the light, but at the same time, walking with all of those who have gone before us and who will come after us, and Us – sharing a common journey of transformation and knocking down the damn walls that in our blindness consider so important. We are part of mystery unfolding.

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