Was asked to read 1 Corinthians 13 in the MAV at a friend’s memorial.
MAV = Mike’s Amplified Version.
Used to say it’s my Authorized version, but it’s most definitely, totally unauthorized.
I didn’t actually have an MAV rendering of 1 Corinthians 13 and almost just settled for the Message as a standby, but then thought better of it. So I did – with an assist from Word on the Street to get me jump started – and I read it. And I saw Jerry’s face right before me in the reading.
Rest in peace, my friend.
If I possess supernatural talent to speak theologianese or even the most refined angel-ese,
but I’m rusty in the language of love
then I’m just clattering round like a broken drum kit.
If I’m brimming with prophetic insight into next month’s news,
or philosophy’s deepest conundrums,
if I know more than anyone,
if I can shift mountain ranges by the sheer weight of my towering intellect,
but forget how love fits into the picture,
then I may as well shut it and go home.
If I donate millions to charity, but my love-account’s in the red,
if I volunteer for extreme martyrdom, yielding my body to the flames,
but love’s flatlined in my life,
then it’s just a bonfire of vanities
and I’m wasted space.
What is love, anyway? Not the tripe you’ve been force-fed by popular culture.
No, love gives people time and space, it does people good.
It’s not jealous, loud-mouthed, big-headed or pig-headed.
It’s not vulgar or crass;
It doesn’t look out for Number One.
It’s not got a short fuse – it forgives, forgives, forgives.
Love doesn’t smile when the dark stuff hits the fan,
but it’s the first to throw the confetti when the light of truth bursts over the horizon.
It protects more than a blockbuster hero;
and trusts more than a toddler.
It’s not a perpetual Debbie-Downer, it looks up and hangs in there.
Love doesn’t run away, Love won’t let you down. Ever.
Brilliant prognostications will prove wide of the mark;
the fine elocutionists will be speechless;
our whole stockpile of knowledge of which we are oh so proud will all be hopelessly out of date.
Everything we know is but a fraction of what there is to know; in our deepest understanding of past and current events we only scratch the surface. But on the day everything comes to completion, on the day we all finally come home, we shan’t need our little bits of knowledge anymore.
Once upon a time I was a child. I babbled like a baby and was filled with childish thoughts and feelings. Ah, but now I’ve grown up into true childhood and have left those sophisticated childish ruts for good.
What we know now at best is but an enigma wrapped in a mystery – a blurred reflection in a dull piece of metal. One day we’ll see it all in IMAX 3D – better! – with 20/20 vision, face to face.
Now I fumble around the edges of reality trying to sort it all out, but with most of the pieces missing. One day the whole puzzle will be put together right before my eyes and I’ll finally GET it – the way GOD has gotten me all along.
Until then, we sit anchored on a stool with three solid legs that will never collapse under the weight of life or death:
deepening trust in God’s goodness
unshakeable hope in our prospects as his kids,
and unstoppable love.
And love? Ah. Love is the strongest leg of them all.