Tomorrow I finish our very long sermon series from 1 Corinthians (it began on Easter) with 1 Corinthians 13, what is often called the great love chapter. We will discover why it is that passage might not be what people think tomorrow, but I thought for now I would share with you my opening section.
What is love? That is too great a question. What is love like might be a better question?
Love is a virgin forest that has never been logged. It is a forest that has never been scarred by a road etching across its wooded skin. It is pristine, tall, strong, enduring, and ancient.
Love is an undiscovered waterway that human eyes have not yet coveted for exploitation. A waterway where the fish are undiluted and genetically stable, the marsh and silt are in perfect harmony with the flow of time and the changing seasons. The water is clean, and its cleanliness sustains the purity of all else.
Love is a child who hasn’t learned to distrust yet. It is a child who has never been hurt or disappointed by the actions and the lies of the world. The eyes are bright and the curiosity is wholesome, sadness doesn’t exist for the edenic child who lives in completely undefiled innocence, an innocence that intuits hope.
That is what love is. Love is pristine and undefiled. It doesn’t clean our mess, it replaces our mess with God’s own intention toward human beings—for God loved the world that was polluted with sin and defaced by greed, jealousy and pride that he gave his one and only son to clean it, and he cleaned by his great act of love. For greater love has no one than this, that he gives his life for others.
God showed us the purity of love in that, while we were still covered in the mud and filth of our sin, Christ Jesus, who was perfect and clean inside and out, died to wash us off and make us clean again.