Memorize 1 Corinthian 13:4-7
You don’t hear these verses read in weddings much any more. That’s probably because for so long they were read in every single wedding. I guess at some point we moved past them. “Yeah, yeah. We know. Ain’t love grand.” It very easy to hear these words as a vague, overly-sentimental notion of love. But that isn’t what Paul is doing at all. He’s saying something radical and essential. These words have to do with the cross.
Fleming Rutledge writes about this in her amazing book The Crucifixion. The people in the Corinthian church have misunderstood the cross. Some thought that the crucifixion was something you could move beyond and live a super-spiritual life, looking down at others that hadn’t yet arrived. Others thought suffering was beneath them now and they were above the cross. Paul is arguing in these verses that they’ve completely misunderstood and so their love is deficient. The Christian life is in the cross. “Sentimental, overly spiritualized love is not capable of the sustained, unconditional agape of Christ shown on the cross. Only from the perspective of the crucifixion can the true nature of Christian love be seen, over against all that the world calls ‘love'”. This is what love looks like in light of the cross. Does this love mark your relationships? If not, then perhaps we too have misunderstand the cross. Memorize this!