I just came in from my morning walk.
My devotions led me to this…
Love is patient. Love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4
I have used 1 Corinthians 13 on many occasions over these 40+ years of ministry. I have used it as a sermon text, as a comfort at funerals, as a challenge at weddings, and as a balm in tense counseling sessions. I memorized it long ago.
It is special.
This morning it occurred to me that this is a time to use it in context. Paul, the composer of this monumental passage, was writing to what my mom would call a"fractious" group. They were arguing and choosing up sides and dividing and debating and evidently being right hostile toward the “other.”
It is quite possibly my greatest moment of understatement to say that these are fractious times.
Paul had dissected the problems. He’d identified the strengths and weaknesses. He’d even named some of the guilty parties.
Paul had given instruction. He’d taught the best he knew how. He’d issued disclaimers (“I’m glad I didn’t baptize any of you.”)
Nearing the end of his wits and resources he seemed to realize that it wasn’t enough.
And he wrote “the love chapter.”
I am a simple man.
I don’t have a clue about how to “end homelessness.” I am totally lost as to a means for overcoming “the polarization of society.” I can’t comprehend the brutality that so often manifests itself in so many diabolically creative ways.
But this I know.
All of that will end. It may well end badly but it will end.
And on that day a mother will shelter her child. And a stranger will receive a cup of water. And the lessons of patience and kindness will be recognized as the salvation for the situation. And hope will blossom into a living faith with the one knowledge that is worthy - the greatest is love.