Week of: February 3, 2019
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
(1 Corinthians 13:1, NRSV)
After reading this week's Epistle text, I would imagine that choirs in many of our churches will be singing Hal Hopson's "The Gift of Love" on Sunday morning. The music library of every single church that I have served over the years included well-loved (and barely held together) copies of Mr. Hopson's simple yet beautiful setting of the love chapter from I Corinthians.
For some churches, "The Gift of Love" is a favorite anthem of children and youth choirs. For others, it is the "easy standard" pulled out on low-attendance Sundays, or when the regularly scheduled anthem isn't quite up to par. And for many, this anthem is the gift of hard work and sacrifice, offered by small but dedicated groups of singers who work for weeks and weeks to perfect the two-part stanza near the end.
It seems that no matter where we are in ministry, or how big our programs are, this anthem is always there serving a specific need. The love of God is exactly the same. God's love and mercy are there for us, no matter who we are or where we are on life's journey. In a world that is desperately hurting and barely holding together, it is the joy and privilege of those of us in worship arts leadership to share the love of God in ways that not only challenge, but also bring about comfort and hope.
How are you showing God's love to others through the gifts of the arts in worship?
Loving God, help us to be patient and kind. Remove from us feelings that are envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude. Free us from all irritability and resentfulness, and inspire us to rejoice in the truth. Strengthen us to bear and endure all things, and encourage us to believe and hope in the love that never ends. Amen.
Justin L. Addington
Director of Music & Worship
St. John's United Methodist Church
Rock Hill, SC
Photo: The Chamber Choir rehearses at Waynesville First UMC during Music & Worship Arts Week 2018. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)