Tuesday, July 28, 2009

True Love

First Corinthians 13: It’s not just for weddings anymore!

Sometimes I feel the need to make this assertion. There is a great danger in relegating this powerful passage to some lovey-dovey, cutsie little newlywed poem, intended only to describe that gushy sentimentality that makes us all tear up at weddings, providing us a polite chuckle when we come to the “love does not insist on it’s own way” line, remarking after the ceremony that Uncle Joe “did a wonderful job” with the reading, and forgetting that this passage is intended to describe how all of us are supposed to be living our lives, for heaven’s sake!

Not to put too fine a point on it; this passage should kick our fannies.

I don’t have anything personal against weddings, you understand, though my initial paragraph may make it seem like they are for me an experience akin to pulling teeth out with rusty pliers. Not at all. I am simply lamenting our cultural tendency to rob 1st Corinthians, chapter 13 of its enormous convicting power, its profoundly hopeful promise, and the offer of a new way to live contained therein.

So go ahead and enjoy it at the next wedding you attend. The chances are good that it will be included, since it is included in roughly 98.7% of all weddings in the U.S. (based on thoroughly unscientific research conducted by me and me alone). But this Sunday we will consider it NOT in the context of a wedding, but in the way that it might apply to anyone’s life at any moment.

“What is love?” is more than an early ‘90s dance track that Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan used to dance to on Saturday Night Live. It is an important question that we all should ask ourselves from time to time. How do we know love? How do we discern between true love and surface level attraction? How can we tell when love is “real” and lasting, and what does that even mean?

In worship Sunday, we’ll think together about real love, whose source is God and whose expression should mark every aspect of our being.


Clayton said...

There are plenty of other songs to consider, like "What's Love Got to Do With It". I've preached on that one.

But back to you comment about weddings. This is an area where the Catholics & Orthodox got one up on us. They can use Tobit 8:5-8and skip 1 Corinthians altogether.

sparklesax said...

Thanks for getting that song stuck in my head, and for the headache that has ensued because of the bobbin' my head has done along with it. I'm not feeling the love. (j/k)

Anonymous said...

Ooh ooh... I heard that if you put your name in the place of LOVE in 1 CORINTHIANS 13, that God will remind you of how much you suck at love! Try THAT at your wedding. OOOOOOhhhhh. dis.

John Schmalzbauer said...

I once heard a Justice of the Peace slide 1. Cor. 13 into a wedding w/o saying where it came from. The bride and groom didn't notice the Bible was being quoted in their secular service.