Today's Lectionary Text
1 Corinthians 13
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.
Twenty years today the scripture above was spoken at my wedding. My husband and I stood at an altar in El Dorado, Kansas, and glowed with youth, love, optimism and hope.
Ah, the innocence of youth. I look at the wedding photos on my desk and see those babies who got married. We had no idea what a ride we would be on together. We’ve had good years and we’ve had not-so-good years. We’ve faced trials and tribulations, argued and angered, pushed and shoved each other into uncomfortable new normals, broken each other’s hearts, loved each other fiercely and picked up and carried each other when we were at our darkest and lowest moments.
Paul lists all the wonderful qualities of love, all the visions of my 20-year-old self who was so in love and couldn’t imagine that life could be difficult with this man by my side and God being a part of our lives. But we learned over the years that love and marriage aren’t easy. It’s work, and some seasons its harder work than others.
We like to think as Christians that we are blessed and if we are on the right path then all the doors will open, the weather will be sunshine, and all the pieces will fall into place. And it does for some people. But for the rest of us things happen. The life we hoped for and planned goes sideways and a new different path lays in front of us. One that’s full of obstacles, valleys and the occasional mountain top experience.
But Love! Paul writes about big L Love. 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.
Let’s swap out Love for God and see if the meaning changes or becomes clearer. If I look at it this way it’s not a rebuke on what I lack, but rather something to aspire to. I think I’m going to go one more step and add With God I can to that last verse. With God I can bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. That helps me breathe a little easier.
The girl I was 20 years ago is not the same as the wife and mother I am today. And for that I’m grateful. My husband and I have had our fair share of quarrels, disagreements and struggles. But we have been blessed to be able to work through obstacles, go together into the valleys and struggle to the mountaintops together. He lifts me up when I’m low and I’m there to encourage him when he needs me.
Here’s to another 20-plus years of marriage, the hard work, the valleys, the mountain tops, and a continued partnership with the God of the universe who has blessed us so richly.
Communications administrative assistant
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessing that you’re being a part of a relationship can be. Let us all remember your big-L love in relationship with each other. We aspire to be as patient and kind as you and invite you to walk with us in all our days.
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