This being the first Sunday of the month we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Communion.
The Scripture reading for this week is 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
The Sermon title is: Love -- The Greatest Gift
Early Thoughts: Just before this (and again just after it as it happens) Paul spends time talking about Spiritual Gifts. In chapter 12 he has outlined a number of them, even as he has also reminded the divided (possibly even fractious) congregation in Corinth that they are not to lord their gifts above others, that all gifts are needed. Then we have this beloved passage [one of my favourite pieces of Scripture].
This passage suffers, I suspect, from being overly associated with Weddings. And I get it, what better time to share Paul's great hymn to love than a wedding. But we need to go deeper with it.
In the Gospels Jesus makes it clear that the greatest commandment we have is to LOVE. Love God, Love neighbour, love each other as Jesus has loved us. Love is the gift that makes all the other gifts possible. Love, so they say, is what makes the world go round (or is that money???). All we need is love the Beatles told us so many years ago (before some of us were born).
It is in love: deep abiding love, love that sees each other clearly, love that pushes us to do the impossible that we are able to be the people God has called us to be. And even more, if we don't have that deep abiding empowering love we are nothing. Without love our gifts are useless. Love is what completes us.
Another writer of the Christian Scriptures, the writer of the letters of John, will later tell us that God is love.
The whole of Christian tradition tells us that LOVE is the center of how we are able to be who we are called to be. The whole of Christian tradition tells us that living that love is our primary task. [And the whole of Christian history tells us how hard that has been to actually do.] SO we stand with Paul and say....THe Greatest of these is LOVE.