1 Corinthians 12:27 – 13.3 (NRSV)
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.
Seventeen years ago in the summer of 2003, a gay priest was elected to be an Episcopal Bishop at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. What ensued was like the COVID 19 virus pandemic we are facing today. People isolated themselves from each other and put others into quarantine, not because of a virus, but because of the way other people loved.
A group of us at a church in Jacksonville, Florida was horrified by the reaction of many in our congregation, and so we formed a group called 1st Corinthians 13, and we isolated ourselves by meeting on Wednesday nights for prayer and discussion. We were not so much scared as we were sad that our church had reacted in such a way, and we needed comfort and solace. You see we all loved and/ or knew people like that priest, and we were horrified that they were being quarantined by the Body of Christ as we knew it.
We asked questions, read scripture, prayed and even asked if one of the priests from the church could bring us Eucharist occasionally. WE were denied the Eucharist, but the rest we did heartily and happily.
Today I am isolated with family and children and dogs. Only love is going to get us through this chaotic time. When this passage came up as the Epistle in the Daily Office this morning, I was reminded of that sad time of an epidemic of anger and hostility. But more importantly, I am reminded of the importance of keeping that thread of the Love of Christ running through this house, and through all the places where people are quarantined and struggling to make sense of this time of pandemic and economic confusion.
Please join me in prayer for all the pods of folks who are hunkered down together struggling to take care of each other, struggling to explain to children why they can't go home. Pray for those who are hungry and those who are sick and for those who do not know Love.
If we do not have Love, regardless of whatever else we have, we have nothing.