1 Corinthians 13; Luke 4:21-30
The greatest failure of the Christian Church is the choice to center rules and beliefs over love and relationship…
…Rules and beliefs can only ever reflect the truth on which our lives are actually built – it never goes the other way around. And if that truth is our fear and anxiety and grief and uncertainty, then anything we say or do will always be built on a foundation of sand. We’ll always find ourselves one short step away from throwing Jesus off a cliff rather than admitting that we’re hurt or afraid. It won’t matter how great the arguments are or how far back the rules go. The words we write on a page or recite in the creeds – the lines we draw or the rules we follow – they will never be more than imperfect attempts to put words to the love and relationship of a God who goes far beyond words.
We see it in Luke when God shattered yet another box in which we tried to contain God’s promise. We see it in Paul’s letter to Corinth as he offers a line by line reminder of how far they fall short. In both scriptures we are reminded that we’re not going to fix all the problems. We don’t get to define the sides and decide the winners and sit back while God follows our most common sense expectation of how God should act next. We do it all the time in countless ways and I’m convinced that thinking we can start with rules and beliefs is the greatest failure of the Christian Church as a whole.
But this is also the good news of our faith. It’s not up to us to figure it out. We don’t have to solve all the problems or make the best arguments or define the right rules or do or think or say anything at all. Before we are anything else, we are loved, we are accepted, we are enough. Each and every one of us. Each and every part of us. This is the sure foundation on which we stand, the reality on which we can build a life of faith and a church for Jesus Christ. Because the greatest of these is love.