Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (New Century translation)
Yes, love is patient and love is kind. But love is also really hard. Love, kindness, care. These are not easy or weak things. They hold up the world. They require strength; patience & willingness to hold the other end of the rope—the willingness to be the bad guy, to be unpopular, willingness to hold what is hard. Willingness to hold your stuff and their stuff. Willingness to do what you don’t want to do. Love requires muscles.
I’m not sure when it started, when it became a sign of weakness to be kind, to show love. When did acting on behalf of people, caring about people, protecting people become weak? When did love become a one-way street, only about ‘whether someone loves me?’
The recovery from the pandemic is going to be a long, hard struggle and in order to come out of it more whole than we went in we are going to need all of the kindness, love, patience and care we can muster. Leadership is essential right now. Leaders of states, communities, towns. Leaders of organizations, businesses, colleges, schools, HOA’s, neighborhoods and families. To all leaders – – if you thought shutting down the world for the pandemic was the hardest thing you have had to do – – wait for the recovery. Reopening the country is a bigger leadership challenge than shutting it down.
Leadership – an act of acting on behalf of someone else. Leadership – working with and supporting other people to use their gifts to accomplish a goal. Leadership – an act of love and caring—of making hard decisions and risking the blowback that comes from them.
Leadership at Grace – is colored by not only navigating the waters of ‘re-opening’ and ‘keeping mission alive’ and ‘sustaining the vitality of the congregation’; but colored also by tragedy, on-going loss, hard-ships not driven by the pandemic: the senseless death of Jill; the deaths of 9 members/friends of Grace since shut-down; health-issues, medical scares and surgeries. Yet through it all, leaders have done what they are called to do: LEAD. And we are blessed. My appeal to each of you, is to have gratitude, thankfulness and understanding for your leaders: Council, staff, clergy, volunteers.
“Love is patient; it is not proud; it does not dishonor others; it always protects.”
With you, and for you…