Dr. Martin Luther King once said that “power without love is reckless and abusive and love without power is sentimental and anemic.”
I have thought a lot about that quote as I have listened to and read the developing story about Bishop Eddie Long.
Surely, Bishop Long is a powerful man. His congregation numbers over 25,000 ( a number which staggers my imagination!). He has met and eaten with presidents and past presidents of this country. He has preached all over the world.
Yet, it seems that he, as so many of us do, exercised power without love – meaning that he became more impressed with the power than with the love that his office – and mine – dictate that we exercise.
Corporations, which are already wealthy enough to hoard money while this society clamors for relief, want only to make more money. Chambers of Commerce all over this country sit and think about not how to get jobs for those on the lowest levels of our society’s ladder, but instead, how to create jobs that will bring them millions more dollars. They seem to exercise power …without love…leading them to become reckless and abusive.
On the other hand, Dr. King noted that love without power is sentimental and anemic. What good is it to love God’s people, the so-called “least of these,” if you have no power to help them? I remember my mother saying that “love don’t pay the bills.” Touché. When we can see a problem but can do nothing about it, we become frustrated, and instead of hurting others, as those with power without love are apt to do, we often turn our frustration inward, hurting ourselves.
The trick is to get the balance. We have lots of love here at Advent UCC; we need some power. We need to recognize the power we do have and use it, and work to get more power so that we can do effective ministry. How do we do that? By stepping out of comfort zones of shyness and timidity and walking bolding in our relationship with the Christ so that we can see where the Christ is leading us. I do believe Jesus is leading us, and has been, but we have been way too reticent and way too laid back to see where He is pointing us.
If the arc of the universe is long but indeed does bend toward justice, then we who love ought to reach for the power that Jesus will give us to make that justice happen. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of …power, of love, and of sound mind.
Who we are and what we were put here to do has not yet come to fruition. I am suggesting that in love, we seek the power that God wants to give us.
Have a good week.