1 Corinthians 1-13 – Reflecting Love

I am tired of the grey skies. I think we’re had one clear, sunny day in the last several weeks. Maybe that’s why I haven’t shared very much. Anyway…one of those grey days had me sitting at a stoplight waiting to turn out of a Kroger. It was raining pretty hard and there was something about the droplets on the windshield and the pattern of the wipers that just intrigued me and I took this picture. (the light was red btw). Something about the picture just really stuck with me for the last week or so since I took it. The different patterns, textures, etc I am sure was part of it.

But part of it is how each of the drops in the lower half are distinct from one another but they are also reflecting the same scene but in their own way. You can see the street sign and the traffic lights in each of them but the reflections are just slightly different in each.

One of the themes through the first thirteen chapters of 1 Corinthians is on the community finding their unity once again. Throughout these chapters, Paul has hit upon lots of different areas that were dividing the believers. They were divided on ethical and moral behaviors, they were divided on how they shared the Lord’s Supper, they were divided on what spiritual gifts were most important, they were divided it seems on issues relating to men and women, and that’s just a few. Yet as we get into chapters 12 and 13, Paul moves beyond focusing on the dis-unity and moves to focusing on who they are TOGETHER.

As he speaks of the different parts of the body in chapter 12, it was there that this image started to come back to speak to me. Each part of the body is different but they are all working to the common purpose. Just like the droplets on the windshield here – each unique but each reflecting similarly. And then as he moves into chapter 13, it is about the primacy of love over all things. Each of those things that he uses to define love – patient, kind, long-suffering, not holding record of wrongs, rejoicing not in wrongdoing but in the truth and so forth speaks to the issues of division that were facing that community. And Paul lays it out – love is above all of it.

With all the divisions we keep fostering right now, what if we came back to love through it all? This may sound naive, but love is the way that Jesus laid out for us and we’re still learning what that means. I’m currently reading a book called Living the Quaker Way and in the chapter on integrity, author Philip Gulley writes:

To give up on our collective efforts to better the world is to give up on goodness and beauty and love. There are those who have done that, but I cannot. Neither, I believe, can God.

I think Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to not give up on each other because God hadn’t given up on them (and neither had Paul). We can learn something from them…

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