I’ve started a New Years’ resolution that I’d like to recommend along with your usual practice of prayer. Begin your day by praying this aloud:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 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. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 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. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
This is the famous 13th chapter of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. You’ve heard it at almost every wedding you’ve attended, but it wasn’t written for couples. Paul is instructing the Corinthians in how to be church – how to honor every member of the community. He was showing them “the more excellent way.”
The purpose of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was to address divisions in the church. Given the current environment in church and world, this letter is as relevant as ever. And memorizing, internalizing, and practicing this perfect love will have an impact on our relationships that will surely leave no room for division.