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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, January 31, 2022  

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

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)

Reflection
It’s a little daunting to think of writing on this much-quoted passage. And yet what a treat, what a blessing, to get to spend extra time with it, to really sit with the idea that without love, then spiritual gifts, power, even self-sacrifice is empty. But love—busy, active love—is eternal, lasting beyond all else.

God’s love is full, complete. Without limitations. We have to work for it (“Pursue love”), and we are often pulled away by things that appear more—Desirable? Valued? Tangible? Or by the rules we set out for ourselves or others. Perhaps we set aside acting in love because it seems so intangible, so slippery.

“Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

But how to love?

Watch for it. Notice when we act from love, and strive to repeat it. Look to others from whom we can feel it. And we can use Paul’s words to measure it, ours and others’ (“it does not insist on its own way”).

Practice.

And as one commentator, Brian Peterson, says, “We are not left to our own capacity for love.”

So pray for it also.

Prayer
Loving God, I stand in awe of your care and your knowing, held in the palm of your hand. May I reflect out even a fraction of your love through what I say and do. Amen.

Written by Simon Crow, Program Manager, Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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