Religiosity

If I am zealous in faith
but do know not peace,
I am a dangerous firebrand.

If I kneel before the LORD
but cannot stand beside my neighbor,
I am a self-righteous Judas.

If I preach “Christ is near”
but shame those who cry to Jesus,
I am a false and jealous prophet.

If I shout out God’s praises
but refuse to resist injustice,
I am a faithless narcissist.

If I build glorious altars
but do not tear down dividing walls,
I am a godforsaken disciple.

Faith is not a solo experience or a self-serving endeavor. Faith cannot love God and hate a stranger. Faith is not simple or perfect or grandiose. Faith holds mystery, knows pain, and practices curiosity. Faith worships and welcomes, waits and works. Faith dwells in love, walks in peace, and joins in hope.

Reflecting on the lectionary texts for
the 10th Sunday after Pentecost (A),
patterned after 1 Corinthians 13

Lessons (Lent 13)

What example shall I be, O LORD, for the blessing of your name? If an example of grace, I might be tempted to idolize and (try to) enact a perfect persona. If an example of faith, I might fold doubt beneath my coat or tuck it into my pockets like cold hands in winter, lest faith be revealed for its fragility. If an example of love, I might never love for fear of failing to live with a heart so generous as yours. If an example of mercy, I might betray how desperately we live without compassion for ourselves or one another, If an example of hope, I might be swept away be the despair of dreams unrealized. What example shall I be, O LORD, for the blessing of your name?

on 1 Corinthians 13:13