Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4–8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How does our love measure up? Not very well at all. We’re not hot-tempered, rude, or quarrelsome, are we? Patient with others? Long suffering? Maybe. Are we willing to put up with them? All the time? Or is it more the reality that the moment they do something the slightest bit annoying that we jump down their throats? Give them the nth degree? We don’t like suffering long with those who do things we don’t like, who do things that hurt us. We’d rather cut them off, make it so they’re dead to us! We don’t hope the best from them. In so many ways our love for others has failed.
But Jesus’ love never failed or fails. His love endures forever. He is love! Jesus bore all things. He made God’s love known. Only in Jesus do we see God’s love. “God loved the world in this way: He sent His only-begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He bears our lack of love, false love, fake love. For our short temper He bore God’s temper and anger against sin. There on the cross Jesus suffered long for us and our salvation. He delivers His love to us in water and Body and Blood. He declares His love and forgiveness in the Absolution.
Our love has failed, but Jesus’ love never fails. His love is cross- and empty tomb-shaped. That’s the great truth we can always rejoice in no matter what. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heav’n, to earth come down! Fix in us Thy humble dwelling, All Thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure, unbounded love Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation, Enter ev’ry trembling heart. (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, LSB 700:1)