Summer of love 3:
Holy Trinity Church Huddersfield, Sunday 28th July 2019
Another Sunday at Church, another day playing percussion. Friday’s rehearsal was a little too warm for drumming, even in the relative cool of a 200-year-old stone building, I drank well over a pint of water just to keep going. The Sunday of the service was cooler due to copious amounts of rain, but still warm enough to work up a good sweat whilst playing, even considering the cool downdraught from the organ that had been used in the early service. The cooling effect was very welcome.
As the Curate left last week and the Vicar is on holiday the service was led by two retired clergy who are part of our congregation but often preaching elsewhere, one leading the service and one preaching: The same two will be here next week in opposite roles. The sermon was the last in our 3 part series on the Summer of Love, on 1 Corinthians chapter 13. This week we looked at verses 8 to 13. It went, to the best of my memory, something like this:
Passages of the Bible need to be read in context. This letter was written to the church in Corinth and addresses their circumstances. It was a church having difficulty behaving differently from the people around. Then there are the circumstances of this chapter of love, set in the middle of three chapters on worship.
There are different words used for love in the Bible. There is a word meaning the love for a parent to their child, a word for brotherly love and a word for sexual, erotic love. Then there’s this word, agapé, it describes the love of God for humans. It is a new word for a new experience of love.
Exercise spiritual gifts. That is the context of these chapters on worship. Love is of supreme, love never fails, it never folds under pressure. It is God’s love and continues into eternity.
Tongues, prophesy and knowledge: We need to see them in perspective. Some claim that the gifts of the Spirit stopped being given in the fourth century when the New Testament was complete as God’s word, perfect and infallible. Paul writing here of the perfect coming is talking about the end of the age when Jesus returns. Tongues, prophesy and knowledge will continue to lift us up until then.
There are two similes used here do describe how we are as far as knowledge: We are like children and we are looking in a mirror. We shall see God face to face and know fully and be fully known. We shall see God as he is. Gifts are to be expected but love is even greater. The greatest is love.
We can see grace vanishing in the world. People need acceptance and love rather than fear. Jesus reveals God to us. If we love. one another God’s love lives in us. In the early Christian community aristocrats and slaves mixed together in equality with each other. This equality needs to be guarded at all cost. People come to us damaged by the world and without hope. We have the privilege to share God’s love and they may come to Jesus and to see that there is hope.