A Reading from the Lectionary
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Cor 13:4-7
I know that my actions have not always met this standard, especially the parts about not being arrogant or insisting on my own way. I am sometimes irritable and resentful and often impatient. I want things to go the way that I think is best. Especially I want things to go in the way I think God thinks is best. Now I am boasting about my arrogance. How rude.
I hear echoes of Corinthians in James Naylor's deathbed confession:
There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention, and to weary out all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself. ... Its crown is meekness, its life is everlasting love unfeigned; it takes its kingdom with entreaty and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind.
If we are called to love our enemies, isn't this how we are called to act? If God is love, then this is the nature of God. Isn't this the way God works with us, wearying out all in us that is of a nature contrary to God? Faithfulness requires that we proceed in in the manner of love. If I am to be faithful it means I have to do more listening and less talking. It means I have to listen deeply and not just so that I can formulate the perfect response. I have to listen deeply enough and openly enough to listen into words what is on the heart of those I am listening to. I need to hold those words and treasure them because God speaks through the words of the heart.