Friday, March 07, 2008

1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3

Aren’t I the lucky one? I get to write about that famous 1st Corinthians verse about love. Well, guess what? I’m not going to write about that. Well, at least not in the beginning.

Instead, I’m going to focus on another part of this passage. Specifically, I’m going to write about verse 12:31 which says “But strive for the greater gifts.” In Chapter 12, Paul is talking about many different spiritual gifts. You need to understand who Paul is talking to. Corinth is a city in Greece. It had many temples to pagan gods and much immorality. Paul’s letter was written to give the new Christians guidance in how to maintain their faith amid such immorality.

What are the greater gifts to these new Christians, with daily reasons to live against Jesus’ teachings? Are these different for different people? Is this talking about greater earthly gifts? Or greater heavenly gifts? Is this talking about a greater gift than love? What could that possibly be? Or is this talking about that greater gift being love? And is this any different for us, than it was for them? I don’t think so.

Okay, I’m cheating. I really am going to talk about those famous verses. Paul was very simple in his message in these verses. We are the body of Christ. We are not all alike. In fact, Paul talks about (in previous verses) the many parts of the body and the diversity of that body. But, we can each speak and live the language of love. In this way, we can be most Christ-like.

Throughout 1st Corinthians, Paul mentions many types of gifts. But, as we know, the greatest of these gifts is love. If we practice love in everything we do and say, then we will be most Christ-like. We would truly be the body of Christ.

I wish I had something more unique, more esoteric to tell you about this reading. There simply is no greater gift. Jesus’ entire life was a life of profound love unlike any other. If each of us could only try to live such a life, can you imagine what the world would be like?



Vicki Nelson

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