Clanging Cymbal

We used to watch “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” I loved the segment, “Name That Sound”.  Nowadays, I play the game.  (Cheap thrills.)  Every day, our ears pick up a lot of odd noises.  ‘Ever stop to guess?  A teacup shelf is musical!  But an auto-part rattle can make your skin crawl.  One man’s “crash” is another man’s “pleasure.”  I love drums; but for my friend with a hearing disorder, crashing cymbals send him through the roof.  (Would you believe he is a drummer?  Let’s not analyze that.)

But you’re wondering where 1 Corinthians comes in.  Patience, Grasshopper.

Notice the subtle difference between that verse, and Psalm 150:

1Cor13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

Ps150:5   Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

One is singular; the other, plural.  Two calibrated, coordinated cymbals fuse to make a super sound.  But a clanging cymbal, without its symbiotic partner, is a lot like that rattling auto part: irritating and unpleasant—likely loosening further, to eventually fall apart.

Whatever we say and do, if it is missing its symbiotic partner of love, it creates a cutting, clamorous clang.  Willy Wonka would say, “Ew. No one would buy it.”  Who among us really wants our activities to amount to a worthless noise from which folks can’t wait to clamor away?  Not me.

What can we do to be sure our actions are truly mixed with love?  ‘Glad you asked.  Paul to the rescue!  Vv. 4-8 tell us to…

Suffer long.

Be kind.

Guard against being jealous.

Don’t brag.

Be humble.

Learn not to be rude.

Be others-focused.

Let things roll off.

Think of good things.

Disdain sin.

Love the truth.

Be patient.


Hope the best.

Hang in there.

Trust in God.

Whatever we say and do, we do well to salt it with truth, and pepper it with love.  We’ll make a joyful noise, and people will keep coming back for more.  🙂

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