After arriving home about mid-day on Thursday, I was off again the next evening to conduct a 24-hour retreat. Some would call that very poor scheduling but, as it turned out, it was a lovely way to re-enter from the “time-out-of-time” that was Peru. The topic, Living In Love, could have been easily predicted; it is February after all when all the Valentine candy and flowers can hardly be avoided.
We covered a lot of ground and pondered weighty questions in our time together. We watched the roaring fire that kept the frigid air from overtaking our reflections. We talked about food on our breaks (everyone but me an aficionado of organic prep!) and had done the bedroom laundry by mid-afternoon, re-making the beds with as easy a rhythm as on a Saturday at home. Our day was punctuated with readings from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapters 12 & 13, and I smiled just now to find his words echoing again in today’s lectionary.
It occurs to me that our little band of seekers yesterday was a model of what Paul saw as a way to practice love and grow in love in simple yet essential ways. Here is the crux of the lesson that we took home. You will, of course, recognize it. But read it slowly, perhaps aloud, letting it seep into you and, maybe for the umpteenth time, find a home.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude. It does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered. It does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1COR 13)