Evensong for Peace

11/09/04
-- by Sister Sara Bingham

Reading

1 Corinthians
Chapter 13

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick- tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.

For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became an adult, I put aside childish things.

At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Reflection

Faith, hope, love, remain, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE!

We often think of this Scripture as “the wedding reading,” which, of course, it is, but for me it’s always been about so much more than simply the love between a man and a woman. It speaks of the great love between God, our creator, and the world and the need for each of us to feel that love and share it!

This passage makes me think of Saint Catherine of Siena and her great love of Christ. I am especially reminded of the section within her Dialogue that speaks to Christ’s commandments of love: “I have laid down two commandments of love – love of me and love of neighbor … it is the justice of these two commandments that I want you now to fulfill. On two feet you must walk my way.”

Those commandments need to be taken to heart by us, just as they were those many centuries ago by Saint Catherine.

In our time of fast cars, jets, and the Internet, I think we have to define our neighbor as the women next door as well as the man living half a world away in the Sudan, North Korea, or the Middle East.

In this time – like perhaps no other in world history – we have a need to LOVE our neighbor, to love all people. We must pray that all of us gathered here this night, our friends, neighbors, and world leaders, will remember to walk in the way of love, bearing in mind the fact that love is: patient, kind, does not seek its own interests, is not quick tempered, does not brood over injury but rejoices with truth!

Faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is truly love!

Love is the path that will lead to peace.