Today’s scripture readings include one of the most familiar and best-loved passages from the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Here Paul focuses on the gift of love, its essential role in our lives, and how it supersedes every other admirable quality we might possess, including faithfulness and generosity: “…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…but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
After making the case for the supremacy of love, Paul goes on to describe its qualities: patience and kindness are chief among them. He tells us “it is not irritable or resentful; it…hopes all things, endures all things.” This may seem like a tall order in some circumstances, but Paul lets us know our patience will be rewarded. He writes, “For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end…. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
I believe it is God who knows us fully. During this Lent, my goal is to draw closer to God, recognizing that I can have confidence that his love embraces all that I am. Drawing closer to God surely begins by expressing love more completely in all my interactions with the world, keeping in mind Paul’s guidance for a fuller understanding of what love in action means.