“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
Curious as it seems, the Bible tells us that love is more important than faith. The first and second greatest of all the commandments. And the cornerstone of the entire religion.
In the 2016 election, 81% of the white evangelical voters cast their ballots for Trump.
Still today, they’re as faithful to him as ever; their support of late at an all-time high. They claim Trump stands for Christian values, but his adulterous indiscretion with a porn star is “Between him and God.” They believe he represents the Christian family but ignore as he rips immigrant families apart. They applaud him for keeping his campaign promises, regardless of how those promises hurt others. They think he follows the Christian faith; they have forgotten about Christian love.
I liked going to church growing up. I liked the performance of it, the fellowship, the tradition. The candles and the stained glass. The robes and rituals. Above all else, I liked the hymns.
Our church had an organ. The choir led the way in song. The congregation followed. I read along in silence, baptized by each word. Poetry set to music, haunting and true.
Last week I ended up behind a Jeep Cherokee on my way in to work. It was polluted with bumper stickers that ranged from rainbow-infused “Love Wins” and “Proud Democrat” to messages of equality and hope and peace and kindness.
On the way home from work, I ended up behind a Ford F-150 with a single bumper sticker. It read, “Trump 2020: Make Liberals Cry Again.”
A cross hung from the rearview mirror.
“Here Is Love Vast as the Ocean” was one of my favorite hymns. It captured the might and relentlessness of God’s love. It summed up my belief system better than any Bible verse or parable or Sunday school lesson ever could. It all comes back to love.
At 22, I got those words inked into my rib cage, just beneath my heart.
Yesterday, the supreme court ruled in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple. The baker insisted gay marriage went against his religion.
Even more than faith over love, now we’re talking about faith against love. It’s religion I can hardly recognize, much less call my own.
Outside of funerals and weddings, I don’t go to church much anymore. After watching evangelicals use Christianity to stand by Trump, I doubt I ever will.
But I still have a tattoo on my ribcage. And I still have a hymn in my heart.
So here is love, vast as the ocean. May it one day be the greatness of faith.