Friday, March 13, 2020
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
In ministry, I have conducted over 300 weddings, and each wedding is unique. As one might expect, 1 Corinthians 13 is the most common passage read in the wedding ceremony. It is the passage that speaks to the hearts of so many, and it challenges us to a deep love that we wish for all relationships.
Of late, I have been delving more deeply into evolutionary development of both individuals and humanity as a whole in both the psychological and sociological levels. The various models talk about the movement from the very egocentric needs (it is all about me) to ethnocentric (it is all about my family, tribe, or nation) to cosmocentric (my own word to describe the a truly global … cosmological … center). Ken Wilber uses the model of Spiral Dynamics to talk about the move from the individual to a global centered view, but then he talks about moving to a fully integrated frame of reference in talking about all aspects of cosmic reality.
The Greek language used up to six words to describe love. They distinguished between the love of self, of family, of friends, of things, and love that is universal and self-emptying. The last of these is the one Paul is using here: ἀγάπη – agape.
As Paul calls us to this cosmic kind of love, he also is challenging us to see ourselves as fully integrated into the fullest possible reality of communion … community … with friends, family, our community, our nation, and our world. It is a call to love even those who are very different from us and even our enemies. It is a love that requires that we fold the self fully into the cosmic reality of God’s creation. Above all, it reflects the full pouring out of God’s self into creation and invites us to do the same. So to love is to give ourselves radically to God as partners in the new creation.
God of love, open our hearts to share the radical love you have shared with us. Amen.