If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have no love in my heart, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Reverend Felix Markose was preparing his sermon for the next Holy Assembly. His flock of sheep would arrive in the morning on the day of the Lord to listen to the word of the Lord. He, their pastor and mentor, would read the scriptures and deliver the sermon in his inimitable style that is highly appreciated by his flock of faithful sheep.
He would count the sins of the people on his fingertips. Adultery and fornication, drunkenness and drug addiction, gluttony and sloth, greed and envy, it’s an endless list of human errors. Sinful creatures. Lord, have mercy on them!
If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move the mountains, but have no love in my heart, I am nothing.
He wondered whether he ever loved anyone. Except his own voice. Stentorian voice that resounded in the prayer hall and shook the souls of the sinful creatures who sat on the pews indifferently, callously, or sometimes attentively. They all said he was a great orator. Eloquent speaker. Powerful preacher. He wove magic with words. His words touched hearts, said some.
Did he touch any heart? Louisa, his wife, was slogging in the kitchen as usual. She had washed the linen and put them out on the lines. She had ironed the children’s dresses for tomorrow’s prayer service. She had cleaned the house. And he? He sat down looking at 1 Corinthians 13 to draw inspiration for his rhetoric.
Paris was attacked by terrorists. It was an attack on human liberty. An attack on the human spirit of inquiry and creativity. He was preparing his sermon. Terror has no religion. Terror comes from insensitive hearts, unformed hearts, hearts that have not experienced the tenderness of love.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have no love in my heart, I am nothing.
What have I given? He heard the question rising within himself. Have I given anything to anyone at any time? Except words?
Am I a terrorist? Word terrorist?
One thousand sermons. Half a dozen books on religion and the Bible. What else have I given? To anyone? Would even Louisa say sincerely that there was love in my touch? Would my children?
What have I given? Except the noise of the gong and the clang of the cymbal?
When will my words lead me to life?
One thousand sermons. To others. Asking them to reform themselves.
One day I shall speak to myself.
Note: Whatever is in italics are quoted from the Bible, the part mentioned in the story.