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Saturday, December 6, 2008

That Famous Verse of the Letter to the Corinthians

For Christians, one of the a strangest and greatest cases of a complete turn-around of one's beliefs happened to St. Paul the Apostle. From being one of the most infamous prosecutors of those who believed in Jesus, the Christ from Galilee (Rabbi Yeshua Ben Josef to the Jews), he became a driven, courageous and defiant apostle in propagating the new faith. He labored for many years enduring many hardships and obstacles, including imprisonment. Yet he was resilient and proved to be a prudent spiritual as well as organizational leader.

As with most things that start out in the beginning though, it was often a struggle with confusion, distrust or the lack clarity and direction. The beginnings of the early Christian church at that time was no exception. The Bible records that he wrote several guiding and faith-sustaining letters to these newly established Christian communities. Once, he wrote a letter aimed at the church in Corinth as he was in prison and unable to be physically with them. He attempted to ease the troubles coming both from within the various Christian groups as well as from outside pressures. Part of his first letter to them became one of the most enduring and famous of his messages. Simply put, to me he was trying to say: "Guys, let's not do this. Let's not fight among ourselves. Remember what we believe in and what we're trying to be."

Today, we hear it often recited during weddings since the theme of it centers on LOVE.

1 Corinthians 13

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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