Thursday, January 31, 2013

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Epiphany 4 - Year C

Left over from yesterday's comment: Even as I think of refuge as a location of safety it’s origin is as an action - a fleeing, as in fugitive. There used to be cities of refuge, but the real trick was an ability to arrive at them. Once there the possibility of being made new was a possibility. Without this newness the only expectation was that of imminent death, being wanted: dead or dead.

If you are interested in a song about refuge you might try this one from Abigail Washburn, the first of three songs on this tiny concert.

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To the point today is a question of what stands behind every gift. Paul indicates that our renewal, our city of refuge, the journey of flight from being trapped by our gifts is found in a mystery of “love”. Charles Wesley later described G*D as, “thy nature and thy name is love”. In today’s commercialized world, love is a most transient and misused state of being. We love everything so much that the word becomes but a puff of breeze, a vanity.

Our very gifts cloud our vision. We see through them as a hammer can only see nails. And so the recognition of gifts not our own become lesser gifts. This, in turn, lessens our gift. A function of love, here, is to see through a larger lens how all gifts, all part of the body, play together. It is not that love stands head and shoulders above faith, hope, or a specific gift we have, but it becomes a ground against which present connections are revealed. This is not faith based on past experience or hope of years to come. This is simple connection with on-going creation as revealed in calling each part by name and that name be claimed - light, dark, earth, sea, creatures, clay. This is beyond desire (no gain), beyond force (patient), beyond advantage (kind), beyond success (truthful). When we finally flee the partial, we settle deep into an embrace where there is no I and Thou. And, black hole-like, we emerge as refugee love with new trust/faith and new expectation/hope.

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