Take Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, God, the Holy Spirit, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, Confucius, Plato, Socrates, Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, Bishop Sheen, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and any other proponent of love, throw them and their ideals into a blender, then turn it on, and the resultant concoction will be this: Love above all.
Whether you believe in God at all or actually believe God, your personal love achieves more than any other power. Put succinctly, love promises most.
Over 62 years, regardless of my treks into ancient Mesopotamia or ancient Egypt, regardless of my wanderings through biblical narratives and endless theological controversies or J.R.R. Tolkien and Harry Potter musings and Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas awakening, what you and I need to accomplish each day involves acts of love. Tale home a dog who escaped your neighbor’s backyard. Offer words of kindness to a grocery store clerk obviously suffering from a bad day. No matter whether you grew up a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, an Islamist, an atheist, a Hindu or just a plain old person without any predisposition toward religion, love.
Love now. Get out of your recliner, turn off the television, go outside to find some way to express your love. If nothing looks promising right now, wait half an hour and go out again. If you succeed just once today showing love, the world will be a better place.
I possess expertise in ancient Middle Eastern languages, and I plastered one wall of my office with one degree after another. Challenge me in theological or philosophical arguments at your own risk of demise. Test me in psychiatric matters. After all is said and done, my offering to you requires you to love. Nothing else matters.
If you engage in carpentry, carpen with love. If you possess skill as electrician, electric with love. If you go to church, church with love on your way. If you like pets, pet with love. And if you like to exercise, exercise love. Whatever you like make it a vehicle for love.
Now for the hard part of love. … I loved all of you during my time here in Cortez. My wife and I plan to leave Cortez in the next two months, because I received a new appointment to a church in Estes Park, Colo. What this means for me and my wife involves a lesson we must all learn: Love whenever and wherever you can. While your love may not last a lifetime, your love impacts today and the future in all ways.
Farewell and remember that more than anything, love matters most.
Tom Towns is pastor of First United Methodist Church in Cortez.