I will show you a still
more excellent way.
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. 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. 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.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:7
In all likelihood, you are rather familiar with this passage from First Corinthians. Mostly because this passage is frequently used in weddings. While it is practical advice for a marrying couple, Paul had a situation different from a marriage in mind.
To put it graciously, the Corinthian church was a troubled congregation. Believers were mistreating others in their congregation. Typically, though not exclusively, this was along class lines with the wealthy members treating their poorer siblings badly. The congregation was acting in ways contrary to love, and it is in this setting that Paul writes these words.
For Paul, Love is not a gift, rather it is a way to live. Love is the Christian’s spiritual highway. For members of the church who might do honorable things (such as: donating all their money to the church, sing beautiful solos in worship, have profoundly deep piety and devotion, etc.) but do not abide in Love: they and their works are, effectively, nothing.
We are to love one another. Not only are we to love our spouse, family, and friends, we are to love even that person in the church who gets under your skin. THAT kind of Love, where you direct love towards the annoying person, is the Love that Paul is talking about in 1st Corinthians 13. This Love is not the infatuation of fairy tales, instead it is love for the gritty down-to-earth lives we live. This kind of Love is hard, but it is the Love that gives us life.
God continue to be with you!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+
PS: See you in Worship!