“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud…” - 1 Corinthians 13:4
As Summer officially begins, we enter a season traditionally filled with weddings. Over the years I’ve officiated weddings in every season, and every month, but summer dominates. Bridgette and I were married at the tale end of summer ourselves, twenty years ago! One of the most well-worn scriptures during weddings is 1 Corinthians 13 - we even used it for our wedding!
It’s certainly appropriate, when two people pledge their love and their lives to each other, to remind them exactly what love is and what love looks like. But this passage is not meant to be only read during weddings. In fact, Paul describing and defining what love is and looks like isn’t about romantic love at all. No where does Paul set this up as a merely a description of love between a husband and wife. It is not nearly so narrow.
The love that Paul is talking about is not meant to be limited to the four walls of a “happy home.” This is so much bigger, so much broader, so much greater than that.
The description Paul gives of love, is the charge that each one of us is given in relation to… everyone. The greatest gift we have been given, is the love of God, shown ultimately and completely in the sacrificial life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As followers of Jesus, as children of God, as those who have been called and empowered - our mission is the same sacrificial love that Jesus showed and Paul described in his letter to the Corinthians.
As much as my heart gravitates towards this love… I will fully admit that I fail to live up to this on a daily basis. I fail to live out this love in my home - with Bridgette, with the kids - not to mention in the community and beyond that. It’s hard. It’s hard to be patient and kind. It’s hard not to envy, not to boast, not to be proud. It’s hard to honor others, not get easily angered, or keep a record of being wronged. It’s hard to protect, trust, hope and persevere always. Love is hard.
And yet, as Paul reminds us and Jesus showed us, it is love that wins. It is love that will remain when everything else has been lost, been forgotten and been defeated.
My hope and my prayer is that my speech, my actions, and my thoughts, would more and more each day, not only be guided by and marked by but be overwhelmed by love. It’s not easy, it requires work and sacrifice, but at the end of the day, it’s all that’s going to remain anyway, so why bother with anything less than love!
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,