1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NRSV)
Chapter 13If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. Verse 2And 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. Verse 3If 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.
Verse 4Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant Verse 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; Verse 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Verse 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Verse 8Love 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. Verse 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; Verse 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. Verse 11When 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. Verse 12For 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. Verse 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
The physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. once said, "Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear." It seems that this 19th-century polymath was in agreement with St. Paul regarding the primacy of love.
The power of love reigns supreme from biblical stories, to fairy tales, to the experience of our modern lives. When we are loved, we are free to be our best selves. When we love, we learn how it feels to set the self aside on behalf of our beloved. Love sets the stage for hope because our hope is in the resurrection promised by our loving God. And love is the foundation of faith because faith is about trust and belief in the object of our faith. How wonderful to have Christ as our example of how to live a life filled with love given and received!
God of Love, help us to be patient, kind, and humble. Give us strength to bear all things, believe, hope, and endure. Above all, help us to live with love. In the name of Christ. Amen.