Sunday Sermon 4

One of the Bible passages for today is possibly my favorite.

I may get confused over the details of who begat whom or the significance of a God who would come to Earth to get himself killed and how that supposedly “saves” us, but this passage from a letter the apostle Paul wrote to a struggling church in Corinth is about as clear as it gets.

Nobody lives up to the ideal. That’s not what I mean. There’s no way you’re going to interact with other human beings and not give them the occasional “Bite me!” The ideal is there to remind us where the goal sits and to give us something to stretch ourselves toward. Otherwise, we just sit on the sidelines munching our nachos and waiting for Kid Rock to perform at halftime. (How’s that for a Super Bowl Sunday tie-in, eh? Yeah, I know. pretty lame.)

Anyway, when I tell you “I love you,” this is what I hope it means:

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. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

For those who wanted it, e-mail me and I will send you the sermon I referred to last Sunday.

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