Daily Reflection
September 20th, 2000
Joan Howard
University College
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First Corinthians 12:31--13:13
Psalms 33:2-5, 12, 22
Luke 7:31-35

The reading from Corinthians is possibly one of the most recognized readings of the New Testament.  It is a favorite of wedding couples.  And why not?  It is about love.  It is about relationship.  It is a lovely reading - lyrical, melodic, and inspirational.  I think there is a sense of universality in that it speaks to all, yet singles out no one.

But I think there is more to it.  In the reading we hear what love it not.  It is not as a "noisy gong" or a "clanging cymbal."  It is not the "gift of prophecy" and "full knowledge."  Love is more.  Love is relational.  If love is the greatest of gifts, then Godís greatest gift to me is that I am loved.  Love is not predominantly about all the miracles that Christ performed or all the gifts and blessings in my life.  Above all these wonderful gifts it is that I am loved just because I am and because God is love.  Love is a state of being.

We read the attributes of love:  "Love is patient: love is kind.  Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish.  Love is never rudeÖLove never fails."  When I am broken, hurting, tired, or confused - God is patient and kind with me.  What does my love look like?

I think the reading is particularly attractive because it is inspirational and speaks to our imagination.  Imagination is not make believe, but it is a gift of God which allows our hearts and spirit to respond to Godís heart and spirit.  In my heart I can imagine, I can see, what true love would look like for me.  My expression of love is not going to be the same as your expression of love.  We are given some tools with which to paint, but the final work of love will be unique to me.

Who are the constant people in my life?  My spouse, children, parents, siblings, roommate, teachers.  What does our relationship look like?  In my heart, in my imagination what would I like it to be?  Who are the occasional people in my life?  My colleges, the mail carrier, the sales clerk, the person who comes to my place of employment for assistance, the student, the teacher, - whoever.  In my heart, what would it mean to truly love these people?

The beauty, the challenge and the good news of this reading is that there is no absolute one way to love.  My relationship with God and with others will be unique and alive and fluid and change as the seasons of my life change.


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