Love is patient, love is kind...Steven Riddle's recent post on 1 Cor 13 got me to thinking about my own providential evolution on the passage. It was "sickeningly sweet" back in the '80s, the sort of sentimental lines that every wedding had to include and perhaps reminded of me mainly of my lack of a steady girlfriend. Perhaps, too, the lines had become meaningless thru repetition, or perhaps the expressions contained within ("endureth all things"? Really?) seemed merely an impossible goal.
But many years later it occurred to me that God must be all those things in the passage because God = love. It occurred to me that God would not NOT practice what he preached in the Bible. If there's one guarantee in life, it's that God does live up to the standard he asks of us. Thus every passage in which he tells us to love, He is indirectly telling us he loves us!
For example, take the story of the Good Samaritan. I never, ever dreamed of reading that as the story of Christ. I thought of it only as a guilt-inducing parable. But then the homilist on Maundy Thursday in 2000 told us that Jesus is the good Samaritan who found us (prodigy of Adam) lying half-dead in the street and paid the price for us and saved our lives and took us to the hospital (Church). Every exegesis I'd ever heard previously made this an instruction to love our neighbors. But to love our neighbors because of (and out of) love of God seems quantitatively different, doesn't it? To love out of thankfulness instead of out of only duty?