June 1, 2022
By Jo Wiersema
Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.
In 1 Corinthians 13:13 we read “And now faith, hope, and love remain, these three, and the greatest of these is love”.
I hold this scripture in a special place in my heart, as I knew the words to it long before I came to faith. As a member of the Sigma Alpha Iota sorority, we often had rituals and traditions, that I didn’t know rooted itself so closely in scripture. I’ve been quoting “the greatest of these is love” for the last 10 years, using these words to fuel my undergraduate experience, and to put love at the forefront of my work with people. As Christians, we are called to put love at the forefront of all our work, our ministries, and our relationships.
In the sermon from this past week, Charlie talked about how in the age we live in, there is this fear around connecting with and learning about the other side.
Maybe it’s about politics or religion.
Maybe you refuse to have a deep conversation with your conservative uncle, or your liberal aunt.
Maybe you keep conversations just to the weather with your atheist cousin, or catholic nephew.
Maybe it’s not one of the big hitters of religion or politics, but some nuance of that?
When you look at ideologies, you’re not willing to let go of, are those cards held tight to your chest out of love?
To lead with love means we put everything we do below love in the hierarchy.
So, I ask...
Have you been so attached to one idea for so long, that this idea is no longer being held up in love, but held up in tradition and idolatry?
The conversation around idolatry can spiral quickly, so I’ll try and keep it under control. I speak of idolatry, not for the physical idols that might manifest in this modern day in social media, or alcohol, or other things.
Though there have been thousands of sermons and blogs on this topic, that’s not today’s focus. I speak of idols as an ideology that you won’t let go of because it’s how you were taught, it’s tradition, it’s what is right in your mind, even if it puts love into second place.
I have a TikTok, like every good millennial trying to fit in. I post videos about theology, church history, and biblical literacy. Yesterday I posted a video, less than a minute, about James 3:7, comparing two different versions of the bible.
In the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), this is the version we use here at Covenant, and what I use in seminary, it states:
“For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species”.
I compared it to the ESV (English Standard Version), which is used more commonly in evangelical denominations and seminaries. The ESV states for James 3:7:
“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind”.
I didn’t plan on creating controversy. . .
. . . but folks who hold the phrase mankind close to their chest, as an ideology, had a lot of feedback. The comments and feedback from the Christian community was a bit baffling, in a way I don’t think “love” made it into the top three of their priorities.
It’s when we mix up individual ideologies and traditions with Christian love, we can lose sight of the Christ-like love we are meant to embody in our work as Christians.
This isn’t to say some ideologies aren’t worth fighting for. We can use our passions to fight oppression and stand up for what is right considering love.
So, I ask of you this day, open your heart to love.
Fight for love.
Listen to those you don’t agree with, not so that you may be right, but that you may move forward in love.
In Faith, In Hope, and most importantly, Love,