self love and 1 corinthians 13
A sermon given on 1 corinthians 13 to a lgbtq+ club at a local university
The town of Corinth had a mirror factory! This, of course, is the perfect place to begin.
Paul is writing and Paul is contextualizing and Paul is speaking in a language his audience would understand. And after calling out a whole people group for not loving and, instead, pursuing shallow things, he brings it home with an allusion to mirrors.
A shoutout to the home town crowd.
And if there had been any tension whatsoever in the listeners, they’d immediately be eased by the reference.
This guy gets us!
I was a comm major. I eat these types rhetorical appeals up.
But rhetoric aside, isn’t this passage fascinating?
Paul has just pointed out, again and again, that if we pursue all of these different, seemingly righteous on paper pursuits, but we miss out on living in love, we’ve missed it.
And then he talks about what love is
Has an ease and flow to it
Doesn’t keep score
Endures through all the baggage
And then there’s an allusion to mirrors. And I find this most fascinating. Because I think it’s hiding something important.
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.
We see things like puzzling reflections in a mirror.
The translation for puzzling here is actually riddle.
We see things like a riddle in a mirror.
Could it be that in order to see the reality of this love Paul is talking about in the world, we have to unlock the riddle in the mirror?
That in order to stop pursuing the distracting “worldly” righteous things, we have to look at and sift through the riddle hidden in our reflection?
Is Paul suggesting,
All those representation about love, do you believe them about yourself?
Perhaps all this emphasis on love that Paul extrapolates on is a plea for the people of Corinth to look into the mirrors they themselves are creating.
And see the way of love Paul is presenting there.
Quit all the supposed righteous outward pursuits
They fall short without love
And in order for them to have love
You need to look in the mirror and know who you are.
When you look in a mirror, are you patient with yourself?
Are you kind?
Is there an ease?
Are you not keeping score of the rights and wrongs you have done?
Are you pursuing justice? For others, sure. But how about for your self?
Are you, despite the bs the world throws at you, enduring through the baggage?
The riddle is in the mirror.
To learn how to love the world, we need to learn how to love ourselves.
Even when, and I’m so sorry for this my lgbtq-plus friends, even when the rest of the world has made that so hard to do.
In the wise words of the incredible Brene Brown,
We can’t give people what we don’t have.
If we are to tap into the mystery of love, we need to let love tap into the mystery of ourselves.
We need love to live there, in us
And each and every one of you in this room,
exactly as you are,
are a stunning reflection of the love of God.
And what could be better than loving that?!