I’ve been waiting for the lectionary reading of 1COR 13 – St. Paul’s famous and familiar “hymn to love” because no matter how many times I hear it – especially at weddings – it always makes an impact. The long form of the reading this morning is 1 COR 12:31 – 13:13 and every line is worth a look. I went to the part about the qualities of love and noticed for the first time that Paul defines love more by what it is not than what it is. He begins and ends with strong statements about what love is but in between it’s as if he sees a stripping away of behaviors in order to get to the depth of love. This section merits a hearing, (i.e. reading it aloud) with time to savor each line and reflect on what we are growing out of and into on our spiritual journey. It is St. Paul at his most eloquent and I offer it to you as a blessing for today.
Love is patient; love is kind. It is not jealous or pompous. It is not inflated or rude. Love does not seek its own interests; it is not quick tempered. Love does not brood over injuries; it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.