Bankrupt (Artful Devotion)

Girl with the Heart by Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944), Girl with the Heart, 1899. Color woodcut, 40.4 × 33.9 cm (15 7/8 × 13 3/8 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Photo: Victoria Emily Jones.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

—1 Corinthians 13:1–3

That’s the ESV. Here’s Eugene Peterson’s translation, from The Message:

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

+++

SONG: “The Gift of Love (Though I May Speak)” | Words: Hal H. Hopson, 1972 | Music: Traditional English folk melody (adapt.) | Performed by Becky Craig (vocals) and John Michniewicz (piano) | CCLI #67327

Though I may speak with bravest fire
And have the gift to all inspire
And have not love, my words are vain
As sounding brass and hopeless gain

Though I may give all I possess
And, striving so, my love profess
But not be giv’n by love within
The profit soon turns strangely thin

Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control
Our spirits long to be made whole
Let inward love guide every deed
By this we worship and are freed


This post belongs to the weekly series Artful Devotion. If you can’t view the music player in your email or RSS reader, try opening the post in your browser.

To view all the Revised Common Lectionary scripture readings for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, cycle C, click here.

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