Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a NRSV
I suspect, but am not certain, that every time I’ve read 1 Corinthians 13 at a wedding I’ve skipped from the “love never ends” of verse 8 to the “and now faith, hope and love abide” of verse 13.
At the same time I teach that we should wonder what a preacher is leaving out when omitting part of the text.
If you’re curious, here it is:
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. – 1 Corinthians 13:8-1 NRSV
Love – God’s love, the love we see most fully in the face of Jesus – Love makes all things complete. As we mature in love, we become more whole. As we grow in love’s ways, we more clearly reflect the One in whose image we are created.
Here’s the thing: we need one another to get there. Love does not flourish in isolation. Love thrives in relationship – with God, with friend/family/neighbor/stranger, with creation. We each know in part; we need each other to begin to know in whole.
In the simplicity and the complexity of living with one another on this planet we call home, may you know Love and be an expression of Love.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13 NRSV