Those of us who participate in the Lutheran tradition of Christianity are familiar with the writings of Paul of Tarsus. Scholars agree that 1 Corinthians, a letter which many theologians use to document the moralistic demands of Biblical scripture, is of Pauline authorship . Then, as today, morals applied to the individual lifestyle simply did not apply to corporate or government authority. For example, “Thou shalt not covet” is fine for you and me personally but is irrelevant in government, business conduct, and world affairs. However, when we surrender the assumed authority of “I, I, I” and “me, me, me” and “American nationalism” to the greater authority of a spiritual governance, then we become an integral part of that entity and we are required by that particular collective conscience to abide by “commandments”.
If we look at Paul’s obvious denial of self in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “without love I am nothing”, and through the eyes of the mystic Paul translate this verse to convey the realization of “ego” death and subsequent spiritual resurrection such as that described by the author on the road to Damascus, can we see that the “saved” Paul was equating Love and Jesus the Christ to being identical entities? Love was not an adoration or emotion but rather, an indwelling truth. Paul lived within the corporate body of Christ, not viewing love as a passive reaction to goodness, but as an active participant in the community of Jesus, a part of the universal essence which Christians choose to name God. Like Paul, we are not the controlling egocentric machinery with an inner core of spirituality. No, we are merely a cog in the greater machinery of the Universe, the Oneness.
Without Love (Christ), who is my true nature and of which I am merely a dependent part, I am nothing. Without Love I am a free-wheeling cog spinning out of control through this life with no purpose or usefulness to the machinery.
1 Corinthians 13:2New International Version (NIV)
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.