Devotion, April 22 - Knowledge and Love

[Today’s readings: 1 Corinthians 13; Psalms 106-110; Proverbs 22]

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 do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2

I’m listening to all of the anger and blame and unrest in our nation right now about this virus (who knew? What did they know? When did they know? What do they know now?) and the response to it (who knows when the country should reopen? What data is driving that knowledge?). And in all of the anxiety and the disagreement about knowledge – its sources and application – there is very little ardent and sustained conversation about love. In the midst of the whirlwind have you wondered at all why so few discuss love as essential to problem solving? Have we accepted this omission as reflective of the way it really is?

I read an article by British New Testament scholar N.T. Wright a few months ago entitled “Loving to Know”. He explores the “knowledge as power” world view, writing:

‘Knowledge of the Enlightenment sort—“we know the way the world is and we’re going to impose it on you”—became the instrument of the imperial projects of the modern West. But that kind of knowledge does not do justice to the ultimate realities of the world; and it fails to grasp, or be grasped by, the Ultimate Reality itself, which is the resurrection of Jesus as the launch of new creation in the midst of the old. As Wittgenstein said, “It is love that believes the resurrection.”’

'That kind of knowledge does not do justice to the ultimate realities of the world ...' I pause on that line. Love, according to modernity, is fine for some things but unsuited to guiding people and nations through to flourishing and life. Only knowledge opens the way to new life. This is a lie. What happens when we separate knowledge and love. Love is the only way through.

And this is love: Jesus has secured your life – eternal and abundant – in his selfless love for you on the cross. The risen Jesus is praying for you – right now. Knows you. Loves you. Intercedes for you. Selfless love and unceasing prayer. Those are the essential two actions that heal and restore. I don’t know what the way forward should be in relationship to this virus. I mean, let’s be honest – I have my opinions! I do know that even if my opinions are 100% correct, without love … it will result in nothing. Only knowledge pursued with and from selfless love and unceasing prayer in Jesus will participate in new creation.

Today, I encourage you because I’m encouraging myself, to dedicate our best attention and efforts to immersing ourselves in the selfless love and prayer of Jesus -- to selflessly love our world in prayer with Jesus -- to selflessly love our world in Jesus’ name as an unceasing prayer. Then repeat ...

Learning to be loved and love right alongside you,

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