O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.Blind singer Ken Medema has a song called "Lead the Way," unfortunately not available anywhere on-line that I can find. It begins, "There's no way in this world that I can do everything that love means for me to do. But as long as morning breaks another day, Lord, I'm yours, I'll follow, lead the way." I remember thirty years ago or so having an earnest conversation with a young friend about that song. He opined that it implied that God is asking us to do something strictly impossible, which makes God unjust. If there's no way in this world that I can do everything that love means for me to do, he argued, how can I be blamed for not doing it?
In strict logic and taking the song with undue literalness, he was right. But anyone who has ever read I Corinthians 13 knows quite well what Medema means. There's certainly no way in this world that I will do and be everything that love means for me to do and to be. The only solution is the grace of God and our own willingness to keep on receiving it. The only sin that cannot be forgiven, because by definition it involves the rejection of forgiveness, is despair. C. S. Lewis says,
No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home, but the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one's temper and give it up.And God is ready to pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, which leaves us no excuses whatsoever.
Now, for a bonus, though not directly related to the post topic, one of the quieter Gospel numbers on my list of songs to embed--"There is a River."