If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. I Corinthians 1:3
We cannot not have love -agapé - but we can refuse to acknowledge it.
We cannot not be connected to God -Theos- and to every other aspect of Creation but we can pretend that the connection doesn’t exist.
But if we do we are, as the writer of I Corinthians says, nothing more than empty gongs or clanging cymbals.
We’ll still be inseverably one with God. That’s the Message of the Christ. But we’ll be denying ourselves the opportunity to nurture and grow our relationship with Theos; to expand our understanding of what it means to be part of a universe that is so intricately intertwined and interconnected that no atom or galaxy is so small or so remote as to be untouched.
Easter, for traditional Christians, is a sacrament of sacrifice and resurrection. It’s steeped in the imagery of separation and “sin.”
Those are simplistic images. They were sufficient in our simplistic past. But they’re increasingly subject to the justifiable criticisms of a sceptical world; a world that doubts a “god” who would need to resort to human sacrifice – of an aspect of “him”self no less – in order to be persuaded to spare “his” own creations from eternal torture.
But Easter is also about reconciliation, and recognition.
It’s about our realization that we are not separate but are, and always have been, an inseverable part of one Whole.
That changes how we see everyone and everything around us.
The great hope of Christianity, and of any life-affirming faith, is to bring about the unity of humanity and the health of the world we live in. But unity is different than uniformity. We cannot be true to our faith by attempting to force others to follow a single doctrine or dogma.
The Message of the Christ is not that we are all the same. It’s that we are all One.
The most eloquent speaker, the most powerful leader, the most knowledgeable scientist, the most sacrificial giver; if they act without recognizing that interconnectedness, they act without a full appreciation of the unity in our diversity.
In all of our own actions, each day, let’s strive to recognize that agapé relationship. Let’s make every effort to act just a little more intentionally out of “love.”
We may not make as much noise as a cymbal.
But we’ll be living our faith.