1 Corinthians 13:1-13

 

It doesn’t matter how prominent you are in the church or the community if you do not have love you are nothing. You could speak in tongues, be a famous preacher, doctor of divinity, be a shining example of faith, be outstandingly generous in supporting the church and charitable institutions with you finances, even suffer martyrdom for your faith, if you do not have love you are nothing. That’s 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 for today. People may reach heights of holiness and distinction, but if they do not have love, they have missed the point. That’s what it is all about. Patient, kind and generous love. Love that is devoid of any kind of envy, pride or arrogance. When we say that God is love, that’s the sort of love that we are talking about. That’s the love that brings creation into being. That’s the love that was lived out in the life of Jesus. That’s the love that accepts us as we are and works within us to help us become all that we can possibly be. That’s the love that motivates us when the Holy Spirit moves in our lives. That’s the love that Jesus was talking about when he summed up what God expects of us – love to God and love to others and a proper self-regard or love for ourselves. Paul summed up this famous passage in his communication with the Corinthian church by saying that faith and hope are great gifts that God gives to Christians, but great as these gifts are, greater still is the capacity to love. It’s great to know that God loves us. We find there a great comfort in times of loss and trouble. But that same love is meant to be reflected in us toward others. That’s what God is seeking to develop in each and every one of us – generous, committed, sacrificial, other-enhancing love. The journey of faith is a movement further and further into a capacity for love of God and neighbour in all that we do, say and think.

 

  • The word love is used in many different ways. What are some of them?
  • To what extend does this make it difficult to talk about God’s love and the love that God asks of us?
  • Is it possible to act with love toward someone that you do not like? What is the difference between liking and loving?
  • Where is love evident in the life of your congregation?