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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Today’s Reading | 1 Corinthians 13:8–13

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. (NRSV)             

“It blew me away! I was just not prepared for that much love!” exclaimed James, describing a hug he received from a young boy at our summer camp. This camper is normally very serious, often engrossed in deep thought. James had been absent from his job as counselor for a week, and upon his return, the solemn boy ran toward him at top speed. James held his hand up for the expected high five, and the camper smashed into him, wrapping himself entirely around James’s midsection.

This expression of love was a powerful experience for James on that day. As I thought back on his recounting the event, I adopted it as my best moment that day as well. Love is a powerful emotion, and being loved is a powerful experience—possibly the most powerful, as the Apostle Paul says in his correspondence to a church in Corinth.

It tickles me that this familiar scripture that finds its way into so many weddings comes from a letter of reprimand to the Corinthians who must have been arguing about the status of their self-perceived spiritual gifts. In the verses for today, Paul states how love compares to the gifts of knowledge and prophecy. I think that Paul tells us that many spiritual gifts can only be experienced in a state of infancy here and that they will come to an end. But love—love can be fully experienced right now, and it will continue in life eternal.

Love does trump all, doesn’t it? It can overpower you like being slammed by the full-bodied hug of a small camper.

Dear God, remind us through those who show their love toward us, that you are love—today, tomorrow, and for eternity. We can love each other as you have loved us; it is your greatest gift. Amen.

Written by Katy Sinclair, Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth

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