"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Faith, Hope, and Love
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Commentary
by Shively Smith
I am fascinated by how this chapter is used in Christian circles as a declaration of love and unity.1
The last verse is practically an anthem of Christian weddings in the western world. It is offered when all is truly well and fellowship is working its greatest work: two lives, two families are uniting. It is recited as wedding vows or offered as a poetic moment. It is often printed on napkins and programs. It even appears on wedding balloons and engraved on wedding rings. It is a slogan for the occasion of marriage.
This is curious considering that Paul writes 1 Corinthians in response to the opposite situation. Paul declares love as the greatest power in a community that seems to be lacking a lot of it. This moment is a far cry from an adoring couple standing at the altar declaring unwavering devotion to each other. The members of the Corinthian church, to whom chapter 13 is directed, are nowhere near a love fest.
In fact, the very placement of 1 Corinthians 13 suggests that Paul may be up to something. He wedges this poem in the middle of his discussion about spiritual achievements. ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 412: Faith, Hope, and Love
May 17, 2020
Podcast on the Narrative Lectionary readings for May 17, 2020, (Faith, Hope, and Love) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded on May 1, 2020, via Zoom for Working Preacher.