gail song bantum

blog on identity, leadership, discipleship

Archive for the category “love”

waiting may feel like a lifetime… but we wait together

over the past few months, in the wake of such tragic racial injustices brought to the forefront yet again by ferguson, mike brown, eric garner, john crawford, renisha mcbride, marissa alexander, tamir rice… i’ve found myself feeling every difficult emotion you can imagine – anger, grief, lament, sadness, disappointment, confusion, weariness, disbelief, and the list continues. a few days ago, someone said to me, “i’m sure it’s been a hard week caring for your husband and kids?” to which i had no response […..]. and then, i realized that the space i’m in mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally actually runs much deeper than even being married to my husband and raising mixed-race sons.

my 25 day advent journey here on my blog has reminded me that i’ve paid a high cost for my community, my friendships, and my family from the time i was a child! when you’ve had hoops yanked, earlobes ripped, been chased, threatened for being a n*$%#* lover, kicked out of your house, and disowned by your father – ALL, because you believed that your friends and those whom you love are worth the fight, you realize that your whole body and your life have become your love language and your protest!

it’s been a difficult season as i remember the many, many, many times over the course of nearly 4 decades of my life that i’ve found myself literally fighting for, advocating on behalf of, and risking my own sense of security for black lives to matter. and, today i find myself still fighting, advocating, and risking. it took everything in me to not lose my salvation when my oldest son was called the n-word at school a few years ago!

waiting in advent this year has been a struggle, to say the least. it literally has been a lifetime that i’ve been waiting alongside so many folks i love. but, i’ll keep waiting. i’ll keep advocating. i’ll keep risking. and, while my “fight” may look a little different now, i’ll keep fighting however i can.

i look back and remember all the people who’ve made my life so beautiful and redemptive, and i would risk it all over again if i have to. because at the core, these are the people who’ve been the tangible presence of jesus to me and god’s love embodied throughout the story of my life.

in the words of ruth to naomi: your people will be my people. your god will be my god. where you go, i will go and where you die, there too, shall i die. 

~ selah

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the greatest of these is LOVE

1 corinthians 13:1-8

if I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, i am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. if i have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if i have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, i am nothing. if i give all i possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, i gain nothing. love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. love never fails.

wow! i’ve probably read this passage a million times but today, i am struck with something quite convicting inside of these words. i have heard this message about loving others preached or taught within the context of marriage, relationships, within the scope of extending the depth of our desires, realms of possibility…basically, loving those whom we can comprehend ourselves loving -friends, family, those in the margins, etc. after all, we have a foundation of love for these people, or our love toward them is centered on human compassion. we leave the message reminded that we should stop harboring resentments, petty grudges and that we should begin coming out of ourselves enough to help those less fortunate, right?

however, i was challenged when i thought about a love shown through obedience….because doing something out of obedience is often more challenging than doing it out of desire or willingness. that all so famous phrase we like to quote, “love your enemies” is strangely more than a simple charge to make ammends. though it could mean that as well, i think this kind of love calls for a real and honest engagement of who we consider our enemy. for example, what about those people who are absolutely unlovable in our minds? perhaps those who have harmed us or those who have harmed others -murderers, traffickers, the unmentionables. to love such people is unimaginable! however, should love be a respecter of persons?

as valentine’s day (our culture’s dedicated day of love) approaches, as well as the first day of lent a few days following, i think about this word: love. as christian’s, we believe that christ came and bore all things upon himself on the cross because god loved, loves and will continue to love that which god created. the reality is that love means nothing unless there is a cost involved. this is what i believe 1 corinthians 13 is trying to convey. what is profound in loving something or someone that is already lovable? god did not send his only begotten son to suffer and die for those without stains, those who were blameless and without sin. no, christ died for the wretched, those deserving of eternal separation. christ died for all -you, me, child traffickers, and the murderer on death row…. yes, christ died for ALL.

the thought of this makes me cringe, if i’m being honest. in my mind, i am SO different than my enemy. yet, to know that christ loves the same. this is a truly difficult passage to swallow. somehow though, it challenges me that my faith has to be something more than talk and to continually remember that christ died for me just as much as anyone else. may my heart toward greater love begin with confession and repentance. if i cannot love the small offenders in my life, how can i possibly extend love to those that seem tragically unlovable?

i pray that as we ponder and prepare our hearts for the lenten season, may we be continuously reminded of the infinite and immeasurable love of our god and may our lives emanate with a costly love that the world would think incomprehensible.

faith, hope, love. but the greatest of these is LOVE.

~selah~

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