“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
This reflection, from the United Church of Christ’s StillSpeaking series, is by Donna Schaper, Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Dr. Schaper will be in Adelaide this week speaking at Pilgrim Uniting Church in the city on Thursday evening, 14 June, at 7.30pm on ‘Removing the Shame from Religion.’ This talk is free and open to all.
Very few of us need more instruction in what the epistle means about a “multitude of sins.” We belong to the “would-a if we could-a” people. We often leave the day wondering how it got away from us. Or we know what we want to do but know we don’t have the power or the money or the moral oomph to do it. We realize that the mess we are in now is one that it had its grip on us long ago. Had we done something then, maybe we wouldn’t be so desperate for help now. Many of us have personal regrets—and also wish we had been born after racism or sexism or with better [University entrance exam] scores or more secure parents.
Thus this epistle is a lifeline. It is thrown to those of us in the tossing sea and gives us something to grasp. Maintain constant love for one another is something we CAN do, no matter the circumstances. We can keep a smile on our faces, while others lose theirs, even on the grumpy highway or subway. We can name one positive in every group of whiners, whether they be ecclesiastical or corporate or at the PTA. We can learn to play defense, even if all our life we were taught to play offense only. Good defense wins ball games. It means keeping the opposition from taking shots. It means dogging the ball. Love may even mean stealing the ball. It also means building the power now that your community or your children or you need later.
Love is proactive and means not getting behind or letting the score get too out of whack. I personally try to keep my inbox of emails to 20 a day, just so as to not let their multitude defeat me.
In the movie, “Money Ball,” we hear, “We find value in players that no one else sees.” What is love if not valuing what others can’t see? Likewise in “Money Ball,” we hear that if you change the meaning of winning, you can change the game.
Christians proactively change the meaning of the game. We get the power we need by loving. We love long after the score is Lions 49, Christians 12. When that is the score, we become especially loving. And love covers a multitude of sins.
O God, blanket us with the security of love, cover over the multitude of knocks at our door, and take away their power in us and from us. Amen