Our scripture lesson for this week may be familiar to you if you’ve ever attended a wedding. Young couples often choose this passage from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. We often associate it with gentle music, floral images, and loving couples.
Only problem, that’s not what it was about.
Paul writes to the church at Corinth because they were having conflict. They puffed themselves up about who had the “best” spiritual gifts. I imagine Paul angrily writing his first draft of this letter. The Corinthian church has missed the point. None of the good things the members of the budding church do matter if they’re not done in, through, and with love.
As you prayerfully read the scripture, consider the things that you do out of obligation or out of a sense of responsibility or for any other reason besides love.
Do you angrily clean up after others? Do you continue doing something in the church or elsewhere begrudgingly? Do you fail to do it in love because you need to change your own attitude? Maybe you fail to do it in love because your spiritual gifts no longer suit the task. What if it is time to give that responsibility up and pursue another outlet for your spiritual gifts?
|Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:1-14:1a
1 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. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
14:1a Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts.
Copyright © 1989 NRSV
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” –Mahatma Gandhi