Love Goes All the Way

ssw-benguess.jpgJ. Bennett Guess

If I speak like I know everything, like the world revolves around me, but I don’t love, I am nothing but a fool at a microphone.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the case that could eventually decide, once and for all, if same-gender marriages must be recognized throughout the country. A decision is expected in late June. The following “Love Offering for Marriage Equality” is a prayer I shared two years ago on March 26, the day when oral arguments were held for U.S. v. Windsor, a pivotal landmark case in the movement toward equal marriage rights. This paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 was offered early that morning at the Interfaith Service of Love and Justice at the Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C.

Jim-and-Ben.jpgIf I speak like I know everything, like the world revolves around me, but I don’t love, I am nothing but a fool at a microphone.

If I can talk about The Scriptures, and preach better than all the other preachers, and get everybody and their sister coming back to church, but I don’t embrace love, then I’m just a silly dude in a robe.

If I give away all my best stuff, and have all the “Rev. Dr. This and Thats” in front of my name, but I can’t recognize love, then I haven’t learned a thing.

Because love, she is amazing. Love is relentless. Love is extra-generous. Love looks out for the interests of other people, not just one’s own self.

Love doesn’t reserve rights and privileges just for some. Love doesn’t promote hierarchies, to the expense of equality, because love just doesn’t think that way. Love doesn’t work that way. Love doesn’t hurt people. And love never leaves people out.

No … Love goes all the way. Love removes every obstacle. Love appeals to the highest court in the land, when necessary. Love gets up really early in the morning, after having stayed up really late the night before.

That’s how love is. Love always does the right thing, even when it’s hard. Love is fair and just, extravagant and wasteful. Love can never be depleted.

Now as for long speeches and oral arguments and amicus briefs, they’ll play themselves out. And fanatics can cry, “Surely the world will come to an end!” and they, too, have their rights. But your loved one’s embrace at the end of a hard day? … The dreams you share … The plans you’ve made … The inside jokes … The kisses goodnight … Till death do you part. That will never pass away. 

When I was a scared, uncertain, disempowered gay person, I thought and reasoned like a scared, uncertain, disempowered gay person. I thought this day could never come. But now, I’ve put all that behind me, every limiting thought.

Yes, we see through murky waters. We’re trying to discern every 5 to 4; 6 to 3; 9-to-nothing scenario. But the day is surely coming, when we will be seen, and see each other, as God sees us — through love, because God is love.

We have a lot of things to sustain us in this life. There’s that quirky optimism that, with God, all things work together for good. And there’s always hope, and hope never disappoints. And that’s all nice. But most importantly, we’ve got this big, expansive, inclusive love. Love! And isn’t that the greatest thing? Isn’t it?

Sparking Ministry Conversations
What’s love got to do with it?

About the Author
The Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess is executive minister for the UCC’s Local Church Ministries. He, and his partner of 14 years, Jim Therrien, were legally married in Massachusetts in 2008, a marriage license still not recognized in Ohio where they live.
Categories: Congregations Weekly

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