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How to Love (1 Cor. 13)

You tell me to love.
First and foremost.

I can strive with my utmost to serve You and Yours
my smallest seed of faith empowered with such force as to move the very mountains.
the angels guide my speech
and yet everything I claim
every fount of wisdom is but a noisy clanging to Your ears.

My God, how can You so discount my every effort?
Do You desert me in my pride?
I find it disconcerting that You agree when they deride me.
I’ve done my very best
done all I can to please You, but I’ve not loved the rest
so it is chaff upon the wind
destined to be blown away in the heat and bluster of Your strength
the motion of Your spirit blowing over me at length
until I am undone.

This rebellion grows within me as I do what I would not
and do not as I should
wresting daily with my preference for “easy” over “good”.
I do Your work most every day and strive for righteousness
as long as it will fit into my busy life of selfishness.

I fear that it is not within me to love as You do.
I’ve not the strength of spirit to ever see it through.
My soul is far to stiff to flex beneath this strain
to love Your children in my heart while recoiling in my brain
for all I see are people
lowly
lonely
like myself

I can love my neighbor as myself, but history has shown we would all be disappointed that the bar was set
so
low.

It’s Your job, God.
You made us.
We are Your creation.
It’s Your job, not mine to find the value in Your children
in me
and in the others
my sisters and my brothers on this broken road of life.
From where I stand we’re covered, all, in dirt and muck and dust
undeserving of the love that You are pouring out on us.
Loving us so deeply
these stubborn creatures of the earth
willful destroyers of Your home
now adopted as Your own
and we throw it all back in Your face
do all we can to anger You
we kick and scream and cry and moan
dismiss Your grace and seek our own and still we demand more.
It’s Your job to love me, Lord
from the cradle
to the morgue.

You see, I just need You to love me
though I’m not sure I know what that means.

How could You not despise us for all that we have done?

We killed Your son.

Your only begotten son.

Flesh of your flesh.
Spirit of your spirit.
You let Him hang out with us, and we refused to hear Him.
We cursed Him.
We hated Him.
We derided all His rules.
We took advantage of Him and dismissed Him as a fool
and a liar.
And though we should know better by now, we continue to this day
and still You love us.
We cannot turn away enough times to deny You.
You embrace us, forgive us and love us in ways of which we are incapable
with a love so all encompassing that it makes us so
uncomfortable
and we don’t understand what it means.

So when I fail to be the person I want to be for You
when I’ve simply not got the energy to love my own way through this agony
unable to embrace my neighbor
nevermind my enemy
help me back-up.
Help me shut up.
Help me stand up so as to fall to my knees in tearful supplication.
Enfold me in Your stronger arms
flood me with adoration for You.

You bear all the things that I have done
and all I’ve yet to do
already placed upon Your son the blame and price of my salvation.
You value me more than I comprehend
reassembling, daily, my whole
and You always, always endure me.

Me
and my mess of a soul.

So stand me before the mirror of Your truth
then turn me back around.
No longer looking at myself to find Your glory in this place.
Let me bathe directly in Your presence
let me see Your face.
For only when I bask in Your love and love You fully in return
that is when I’ll learn
to love
to speak
to serve
in the power of Your word
and how to life my life for loving You and Yours.

Amen.

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