Summary: Love inside the church is too much like love in the family. We are hard on the ones we love. Love within the church is good stuff and Paul explains the standard.
I went to a wedding yesterday. It was one of thoes events that brought the reality of time and how many years have passed into clearer focus.
The groom was the son of some really good friends. He is about the same age as James. I congratulated our friends on winning the race. They have a child that was married off first.
Melanie accused me of calling her old and I explained the reality that it meant that we were all getting old.
We watched the couple cut the wedding cake. All the normal problems of holding the knife and give each other a bite. I am not sure that having 5 ladies telling them when an how to do everything helped them much.
Renee commented, “They are just babies.” It hit me that we were about the same age when we got married. She said “that was different.”
I am still trying to figure out how.
Well that got me to thinking about young love again. The feeling of excitement and fear of a wedding, how was life going to change…..
For the past couple of months I have had stuff on my mind and heart hat was like some of that packing tape that sticks to you. It starts out stuck on your shoe and when you pull it off it is sticking on your hand then the other hand. Eventually, you go to the trash can and stick it to it so you can be free.
The thing that has been on my heart is Love. I guess last night brought a little clarity to the problem. 24 years ago I was the groom. I was totally in love with my first wife……..Renee. As my mined shifted back to current day, It felt like there was something different.
It would probably be easier to name something that stayed the same. I still have a real love for Renee. But even it has differences. The selected scripture today gives me some things to try to measure how.
Love is patient - when I feel good and am not in a hurry to do something I want to do.
love is kind – when I want something
It does not envy – unless Renee is happy
it does not boast – except to show how important I am
it is not proud – OK I better stop there. I don’t meet any of the baseline qualifications that a Christian should have when it comes to love.
If I get to rude or self-seeking or not easily angered -- it will make my pride lead me to consider lying.
Love keeps no record of wrongs – That is not fair, I have a memory, I can’t help myself.
Folks, when I look at my love for my family, which is normally the best I can do. Well, I fall short.
When Paul describes love in chapter 13 he ends the chapter by saying that love is better than spiritual gifts and is even more powerful than faith and hope.
Love is good stuff. I like the way it makes me feel. However this letter is not written to individuals and how they are to love their spouse and family this is written to the church in Corinth, a church that has a lot of problems.
They have people in their church that are sinners. Not just little sins, but big ones. They have people in their church that think the old way was better and are trying their best to change the opinions of all the members. They have people that really have no understanding of how to approach Holy Communion. They have people that are talented and rich that want to control everything in the church.
Paul addresses all kinds of problems.....We get to the 13th chapter and it seems to me that Paul is trying to address the real problem. Paul is saying that all these issues in the church can be addressed with one real fix.
He defines love, Christian Love.
For the most part this letter is written to the church and is dealing with problems inside the church. Sometimes we have a tendency to fight with our loved ones and have less patience with family. When we fight we tend to know how to land blows – normally verbal – that really sting. Because we are so close we know the weak spots. Paul is saying that if we all make LOVE the foundation of what we are as Christians, the other stuff will take care if itself.
Paul’s letter is no less relevant today than it was back then. Christian love is difficult to do even with the ones we claim we love. The root of the problems in many churches today is a failure to understand and live a life of Christian love.