Have you ever noticed how many songs on the radio are love songs? Every other song seems to be about finding, losing, wanting, giving, taking, misunderstanding, and needing love.
As I read through 1 Corinthians 13, I began wondering how well modern love songs match up with Paul’s ancient and poignant love poem. What do you think? Does anything sung on the radio echo the kind of love that comes from God’s heart?
Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.
TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Psalm 37:1-11: This psalm asks us to take God’s perspective on life, suffering, and evil. Despite that evil sometimes wins, the psalmist reminds us to keep our mind on the good, on God. We can trust and delight in God and commit the course of our lives to him. This sounds more productive than fretting and worrying, which only adds power to the evil we are concerned about.
Proverbs 21:23-24: I can’t count the times I’ve opened my mouth and inserted calamity. Being verbal, I know too well the truth that this proverb drives home. Words misspoken can be much more dangerous than sticks and stones. And a zipped lip, for me, is often a hard fought for victory.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Paul McCartney sang, “You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs” (“Silly Love Songs”). McCartney apparently wrote that song in response to criticism he received from John Lennon and others about writing what they called lightweight love songs. I know how McCartney must have felt.
I once had a church elder criticize me saying, “Eugene, you preach on love too much.”
He was serious. Apparently it was lost on him that we were in the middle of a series on 1 Corinthians 13. That’s the “love chapter.” Paul uses the word love nine times in that chapter alone.
But it’s an honest concern. Shouldn’t we spend our energy on more weighty topics? It seems Paul McCartney and the Apostle Paul didn’t think so. McCartney wrote,
“Love doesn’t come in a minute
Sometimes it doesn’t come at all
I only know that when I’m in it
It isn’t silly, no, it isn’t silly, love isn’t silly at all.”
Likewise, Paul–the apostle not the Beatle–wrote, if we don’t have love, we are only a “resounding gong or clanging cymbal.” So much empty music. Love is not silly; it is a foundation for life. Life is mean and ugly and purposeless without love.
I wish I would have told that elder, “What? Are you crazy? One thing there is not too much of in our world is love!”
In fact even modern music reminds us, “What the world needs now is love.” Always has, always will. Or so sang Jackie DeShannon, Wynonna Judd, and many others. Again Paul would agree.
Of intelligence, of sacrifice, of mysterious gifts from God, of faith, of hope, of all human abilities and actions, “the greatest of these is love,” Paul penned. We cannot talk, sing, or think about love too much.
“Love always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.”
But as McCartney tried to say, it’s not all sweetness and light. Love may be beautiful, romantic, poetic; but it’s not silly. Love, God’s love, is the most powerful force in the universe.
Further the Apostle Paul’s lyrical poem about love also points out a hard truth. You say you know God, have been gifted by God, follow God, serve God, and love God, but where is the love?
What do the Black Eyed Peas and the Apostle Paul have in common? They asked the same question:
People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love?
Where is the love? It’s in Jesus in us and all around us in God’s creation. Though our lives, our songs, our poetry may but be “a poor reflection as in a mirror” of that love. Paul reminds us that God loves us so deeply, that as he poured love out on our world, it has spilled over even into silly songs. Where is the love? Look into God’s eyes, you’ll see it. Dig deep inside God’s people, you’ll find it. Even listen to the radio, you’ll hear it.
What do Paul McCartney, the Black Eyed Peas, and the Apostle Paul have in common? They have all seen and experienced enough of God’s love, they want us to do so as well.
- What do these for passages share in common?
- Where have you found God’s love?
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