love 

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:12

This is from a passage that’s talking about the period right before Christ comes back to this earth to right all wrongs. It would be wrong of me to take it completely out of context, and to say that it’s a blanket verse for hard times, because it’s not; it’s about the persecution that the Church will face for standing by God’s Word. But it’s also about love. 

Love like 1 Corinthians 13 and love like Matthew 5:43-45. Love that is patient and kind, that always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love that is unequivocal, that means loving when faced with hatred. Love that is constant, no matter how much it costs us, in the face of anything. When we hear news that we can’t believe to be true, love. When our hearts break and we weep for the hurting around us, when we can’t see through our tears and our hurt and our lack of understanding and answers, love. When we’re so ashamed that the horrors that should break us are just a headline on the evening news, love. When we want to close ourselves off, equating intentional blindness with coping, and ignoring because it’s easier than hurting, love.

What do you do, sitting on your bed and flipping frantically through pages in your Bible, trying to find a verse that explains mass shootings–the largest in US history–in Orlando? When you call your mom but can’t find the words to ask a question, much less know what question it is that you’re trying to ask? 

You love.

You love in prayer, in pouring out to God all that you don’t understand, asking for peace and comfort for people you’ve never met. You love in looks of solidarity, shared with the person staring at the half-mast flag in the same instant as you. In your support of any effort that offers a glimpse of light, however faint, to anyone hurting, and in your deterrence of anything contrary. You love in vigils and prayer meetings and worship nights. You love in actions–Christians have never been called to passivity–in the way that you follow up with your words and your prayers. You do something, you say something, you tell someone, you write to someone. 

Love isn’t an answer, wrapped up prettily in a bow, like a song Maria Von Trapp would sing. It’s not an explanation, laid out and quantified like something we’d learn in 3rd grade science, courtesy of Bill Nye. It’s the language of my Lord. 

1 Corinthians 13 closes by saying that faith, hope and love remain as the truest gifts that humanity possesses, and that love is the greatest of them. Our faith is grounded in and defined by love; our hope is possible and proven through it. Let’s not lose it.

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