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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, April 28, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 Corinthians 13           

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. (NRSV)

I’ve attended my fair share of weddings, and many of the ceremonies included today’s scripture. In the context of a union between two individuals, the words easily reflect a couple’s hope for their lifelong partnership.

However, I challenged myself to consider this scripture in a broader context than the one I’m so used to. We’re in the midst of the Easter season as we read Paul’s message on the truest form of love. Just a couple weeks ago, we witnessed Christ’s sacrificial gift for all of humanity.

Despite the condemnation, hatred, and oppression Christ endured, he gave his entire being in the most selfless and loving way possible. There was no expectation that those who condemned him were to suddenly believe or repent. Instead, Christ expressed this selfless love even more by asking God to forgive his oppressors.

This true form of agape, or voluntary and unconditional love, is what Paul calls us to in today’s scripture. How often do we truly love without an ounce of expectation it will be reciprocated? This is our ultimate call, to live like Christ: to love without reward.

Christ, let your loving sacrifice guide me through this Easter season and on my human journey. Remind me to love selflessly, while following your teachings with a faithful heart. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens Harris, Director,
Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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