This Sunday, we’re continuing to take a look at Paul’s letters to the early church in Corinth. Building on Paul’s encouragements to that church (and to us!) about our gifts and giftedness, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 finds us considering one the most famous passages in Scripture. “Love is patient, love is kind….” But love is also work. Paul shares keen insights on how God empowers and equips us for the work of the love in the world.
Over the past few days, I’ve been looking at the different images Paul uses to try to get at what he means. He talks about seeing through a glass darkly, and then seeing face-to-face. He talks about being a clanging cymbal and a noisy gong, and about maturing in the love of God and in the sharing of that love.
I’ve been sharing some of these images on Facebook with brief reflections, and I wanted to post them here as well.
“For now I see as through a glass, darkly; then I shall know fully, even as I will be fully known.” (from Paul’s letter to the early church in Corinth).
We don’t always see the big picture. The apostle Paul says that sometimes it’s as if we see through a glass, darkly, but that when perfection comes (when we’re united with God in the fullness of God’s presence), we’ll see things fully. Another way of putting it is that sometimes, we see dim reflections but that in God’s presence, we’ll see clearly and face to face.
In the meantime, the ethic of our lives as followers of Jesus should be defined by an ever-maturing love for those around us. This video brings images of sight and light and even of the process of being made more complete in the midst of the refining fires of life. As the craftsman does his work, the darkness fades and clarity emerges. One day, we’ll break the glass entirely and celebrate with one another in the presence of our Maker.
Join us this Sunday as we take a closer look at the images Paul uses in his letter to the early church in Corinth, and what they mean for us today.
Whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!
Founded almost 400 years ago, Zildjian makes some of the most famous cymbals in the world. Known for their unique alloy and sound, they were invented by accident (it turns out you can’t turn base metals into gold!). As renowned as they are, they’re not much good when they’re broken. Scripture says that without love, even if we can “speak in the tongues of men and of angels,” our words are like the sounds of clanging symbols. That’s just one of the evocative images St. Paul uses to describe the importance of approaching all we do with the love of God in our hearts and on our lips. This Sunday, we’ll look together at one of the most famous passages in Christian scripture and explore the meaning of God’s wondrous love. Be a part of it!
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I grew up, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
I have a confession to make, and maybe you’re in the same boat. I still really enjoy many of the things I liked as a kid. I still like Star Wars. I still love the Phillies. I still go see superhero movies. If the numbers in the sports and entertainment industries are any indication, I’m not alone.
When the apostle Paul talks about putting the ways of childhood behind us, I don’t think he’s talking about flipping a switch and saying “it’s NPR from here on out.” Honestly, Paul probably wouldn’t know what to make of our material culture and our pop culture fandoms. But I also believe that Paul’s message is timeless. I think he’s saying that as we grow up, we need to put *childishness* behind us.
So what does that mean? I think one of the things it means is that we’re not to think of our walk with Jesus as the latest new fad, the latest must-have toy or app or accessory. Remember fidget spinners? They were all the rage a few years ago. Not so much any more.
Here’s the interesting thing. Nothing about fidget spinners changed. They still do what they always did. They’re still mesmerizing. (That’s not just me, right?) So what happened? The toy didn’t change, tastes did. Something newer, bigger, and brighter came along. And then something else and then something else.
Kids get a bad rap for having short attention spans, but if we’re being honest, we know that’s a very human trait. Kids get a bad rap for being fickle, but adults are just as bad. Paul’s message here is a good reminder that the things we enjoy, even things with obvious merit (fidget spinners do teach us a few things about physics, after all, and have been known to help with nervous energy, anxiety, and stress), don’t bring us lasting joy.
Part of growing up, Paul is saying, is realizing that lasting joy is a conscious decision. It comes from finding our identity beyond fads, beyond culture, beyond our favorite things, and in the One who made us with the capacity to put childishness away and, as image-bearers of God, to embrace our lives with a kind of childlike vigor, joy, wonder, and awe.
This coming Sunday, we’ll take a look at what else Paul has to say in one of the most famous and beloved passages in all of Christian scripture. Join us! Fidgeters (and fidget spinners) welcome!
Two more videos will post later tonight. In the meantime, you’re invited to follow us on Facebook and to sign up for weekly email updates about what we’re doing in worship and in service to the world!