Today's Lectionary Text
1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 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.
Today would have been my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary. Wow! Seventy years is a long time. Today marks a momentous day in my family’s history and in my life. The epistle reading for this week, 1Corinthians, is a passage that is very familiar to many people. It is often read at wedding services. It was read at my wedding; I do not know if it was read at the service uniting Fran Nagel and Gary Smith in marriage. I do know that it was lived in the home they established. Furthermore faith, hope and love are characteristics that mark the life of the disciple.
Faith is a solid basis on which to establish a home, whether that home includes one person, six biologically related folk, or two acquaintances. It is a quality that points to something beyond self and suggests something exists that is more important than just me. That something accounts for a huge world, for an amazing creation, for diverse peoples.
This created world is ongoing. At this moment in time it is continuing, even though it would seem the odds might be stacked against its survival. Something propels it to go on. New things emerge in creation regularly, and with a little effort on our own part, we get to know new people we have not encountered before and fellow humans who are different from us. This ongoingness leads us to be hopeful. It suggests New Life will dominate. As new things are revealed they provide further cause for hope. This drives us to broaden our actions, living in ways that engender the kind of living that is a mark of God’s intentions.
Underlying hope-filled, faithful living is love. Living in love is the bottom line with God. Scripture tells us if we do not love nothing much matters. First Corinthians describes just what love is — patient, kind, not boastful or rude, not irritable. It is pretty clear. Many days, however, it seems hard to live in love.
Love always defines who we are as the people of God. Disciples spread love to family, friends, acquaintances. Equally important, disciples spread love out beyond their own world to wherever there is need or hurt. They reach out to those who are hungry, who are bullied, who are ill, who are confused. They reach in faith with love to touch those who are hopeless.
As a girl on Sunday mornings, I lined up at Dad’s desk with my brother and sister. We each got our nickel (later a quarter) for Sunday School offering so that we could live faith. Throughout our lives we were encouraged to pursue a path that honored who we were created to be. A positive attitude, one that was filled with hope, dominated our home. Especially, we knew we were loved. We were enveloped by example. We lived in a faithful, hope-filled loving community. As an adult I hope I step beyond my own boundaries to spill some faithful loving into the wider world, bringing the kin-dom a bit closer. May it be so for all of us.
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh
Retired Diaconal Minister
Prayer for Reflection
Loving God, thank you for increasing our faith and filling us with hope. Help us be aware of opportunities to spread love throughout your world. In the name of Christ, Amen.
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