1 Corinthians 13 is more than just a nice wedding Scripture
You’ve probably heard 1 Corinthians 13 if you’ve ever been to a wedding.
“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.
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.For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part;but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.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.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. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (NRSV).
Certainly are great words for a wedding aren’t they. Except that’s not what Paul, the author, was writing them for. Weddings were the furthest thing from his mind when we wrote this.
The chapters preceding 1 Corinthians 13 talk about the institution of the Lord’s Supper, spiritual gifts, and the church being one body and having many parts. This is about community, beyond the community of marriage. I think the words Paul wrote certainly fit for our understanding of marriage in the 21st century. I also think that his words have deeper meaning in the midst of pandemic.
Let’s take a short look at that middle paragraph from ch. 13.
“Love is patient.” Why? Because life can be frustrating. Patience allows us to recognize that we are not in control. Patience allows us to recognize that we don’t get to determine the speed at which things happen.
“Love is kind.” Why? Because there is so much meanness and anger. Love is an…