Summary: 1 Cor 13, love, gifts, faith, hope
Epiphany 4 – Nothing, but Love
1 Cor. 12:31b—13:13
† In the Name of Jesus †
16 May the Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father who loves us and gives us unending encouragement and unfailing hope by his grace, inspire you with courage and confidence in every good thing you say or do. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 (Phillips NT)
The basketball flies out of the players hand, it’s 22 foot arc, is absolutely perfect, the ball rotating slowly backward as it drops towards the hoop, and as it enters the cylinder, all one hears is the simple perfect sound, the swooshing rustle of the net. Then silence, and then the thump, as the ball hits the floor.
There is a phrase that describes such a shot, “nuthin but net!”. Said before the shot, by the player, it is a claim of assurance, that the shot to be made will be perfect, no guess work, no risk. Said by those observing the game, it is a remark of admiration, as surely as the applause given to the master violinist, or the stare of awe of those admiring a Picasso, or a Monet. Being able to repeat such a shot, and continually hit nothing but net, is a skill few can master. It requires perfect form, perfect technique, and a certainty of what one is about.
If life where a basketball game, 1 Corinthians 13 is “the” passage, that describes a life that is “nuthin but net.” It describes a life that is perfect, that doesn’t bounce on the sides of the rim, or roll out. It is simple, beautiful, inspiring perfection. That simplicity, that beauty, that inspirational passage read at least at half the weddings I have been to, is life lived, nothing but net.
To be honest, there are times I hate the passage.
Clanging on the rim….
If I look at this passage, and judge my life by it, there are days my shots clang loudly off the rim. And like most humans, there are days where life is like an airball, where not only is the rim missed, but the backboard is as well.
I would think that many of us struggle with being patient with others, but instead, we want vengeance, and judgment on them now. There might be a time or two where being “kind” to that one particular person, or that group, might not ever enter into our mind. Being kind by the way, means being beneficial or helpful, or profitable for the other person. What about being envious, do we choose that, or do we rejoice for what others are blessed with, even when we are not? Boastful? Another thing I have a tendency to be, rather than demonstrate love. I could keep going, mentioning insisting on my way, or being rude, or rejoicing in injustice,
Having played a bit of basketball in my life, the sound of those shots that miss, when I am trying my hardest, can echo far longer in my ears, than the airball I shot without caring. Just like the times where I thought the lesson was learned, and I would live perfectly as God wants, and then, as I read a passage like this, and realize how far short my attempt came… the guilt can be overwhelming…when one sees their lives judged by the standard of this passage…