“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
These verses from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth are a favorite to be read at weddings. It is a reminder of the type of selfless love that should be shared by two human beings. But, these verses are so much more. Within these five verses of Scripture is the embodiment of the character of God. John tells us God is love and Paul tells us what God, love, looks like. If we want to know the character of God we need to look for this kind of selfless, self-giving love.
What does this means for us today? If these verses embody the character of God and we are born in the image and likeness of God, then we are to embody this type of love. We are to be patient when our patience is tested. We are to be kind when we are tempted to be unkind. We are to be content, humble, hospitable, selfless, and measured in our anger. We are to let things go and forgive generously, run from evil and celebrate the truth wherever we see it. Because we are children of God we are to protect when protection is needed, trust when trust seems unwarranted, hope in the midst of hopeless times, and persevere through all circumstances we face.
The last quality of love Paul mentions is that love never fails. Paul tells us that he believes he, and we, should love with all of these qualities because they are the very qualities of God’s love for us. He finishes this by telling the reader that if he lives by all of these qualities it will never fail. Another way of putting this is love is foolproof, guaranteed. Love will never let you down, fall short, go part way, or disappoint. LOVE NEVER FAILS!
It is my prayer, especially in these times, we will be people of love. Living out the very love that God has displayed to us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Love is needed in all of society now more than ever. I am not talking about the love that the world tells us to give, but the love that Paul describes in these five verses. May we be people who love like this. May we be people who fulfill Jesus’ command to love one another. May the world know that we are followers of Jesus Christ because of the love we live. If we are those people today, this week, and all the time…it will never fail.
This Sunday we continue our 50th Anniversary Celebration. Rev. Dr. Bob Gibbs will be with us to preach about sacred places. Next weekend we will conclude the celebration with a banquet and worship on the 18th, worship on the 19th, and one worship service on November 20th. The president of The Mission Society, Rev. Max Wilkins, will be preaching all services on the final weekend. This is an exciting time to be a part of what God is doing at St. Andrew’s. I can’t wait to see you in church!