Maturity of faith demands love that is tough
Once I thought as a child, but now that’s not enough,
Songs of praise and speaking in tongues
Turn sour if I keep records of wrongs,
Each boast and reproach is best left unsaid.
X is a cross where love suffered and bled:
Covenant love longs to reconcile
Ever willing to go the extra mile.
Love never fails, it trusts, perseveres,
Lights up the darkness, wipes away tears,
Enables the broken to revive and cope.
Now, three gifts remain – faith, hope,
Then, conquering everything, love.
Wrongs are forgotten when we rise above
Anger and envy, and let grace hold sway.
Yes – there is a most excellent way.
“And now I will show you the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
The Bible contains many passages which I like to call “sunlit verses”. There are some difficult teachings in the Bible which, prima facie, may seem at odds with our values and even our understanding of godliness. There are some complex passages in the Bible, where we struggle with meaning or application. But there are some passages that are simply beautiful. Yes, we can benefit from analysing them. But at times we can be content just to bask in their beauty.
1 Corinthians 13 is such a passage. Even non-believers will admit it is an inspired expression of true love. It is a thing of wonder; we are so blessed to have it in our scriptures.
It isn’t quite at the physical centre of the New Testament, but I like to think of it as a spiritual centre. Similarly, the Song of Songs isn’t quite at the middle of the Old Testament, but it seems to me like a spiritual heart. At the epicentre of God’s message to us is a timeless love story.
I’m so grateful for the imperfections of the church in Corinth. If they’d conducted themselves in an exemplary manner, Paul wouldn’t have needed to remind them about the true nature of selfless love in this passage; nor would he have had to clarify the proper way of celebrating the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11.
Through the cracks and imperfections of the church at Corinth, God’s spirit broke through and light shone. Amidst the harsh teaching and sharp correction, Paul wrote passages of beauty and poetry.
(Most Excellent Way appears on my New Testament: The Early Church page).