Monday, October 15, 2007

The future of love

Reflections on 1 Corinthians 13.8-13
But is this kind of love really possible? Is it just a pipe dream? Isn’t it all too hard? I’ve tried it and it doesn't work. I’ve tried loving others and have still been treated like dirt. Can’t I just be nice and polite and tolerant instead? Can’t I settle for avoiding people?

Paul’s answer is to turn to the future. Gifts will pass away: prophecy, speaking in tongues, special revelations of knowledge, all will end one day. They are just means to an end, instruments to help us along the way. When we grow up, we put aside baby-talk. When your flatmate arrives back from overseas, you no longer need email, you can talk face to face. All these spiritual gifts are good and can serve the common good, but the common good they serve is love. Love isn’t just a means to an end. Love isn’t just an instrument to help us get along. Love is not just the path of our journey; it is our destination. Love isn’t simply our duty; it is our destiny. As we learn to love, we are in training to speak the language of the future. We are preparing our tastebuds for the coming feast.

And we get a taste now. This is God’s gift. He treats us in a way that brings new health to shattered spirits; he speaks words that heal and build and make us true; he gives himself for us, preferring our benefit to his comfort. He does all this for us, so that we can start to become like him. Love is therefore not a burden; it is a privilege. We get to be a little bit more like God.
Photo by CAC.