The thirteenth chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is so familiar to us that even has its own nickname: the Wedding lesson. It’s so often chosen as one of the lessons to be read at a marriage service that it’s become a cliche, even a joke in a movie about wedding crashers.
But the truth is that part of the letter that St. Paul wrote, has nothing at all to do with marriage. It’s a rebuke of a sort to a church community that was in profound conflict with each other. One side was claiming that they were the “real” Christians because they had some gifts that the other side didn’t have. And the other side was doing the same thing, rejecting their fellow Christians because they claimed that they had better gifts than the first side.
But St. Paul says they’re both wrong. In the words commonly attributed to our Presiding Bishop, “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God”. If one side is dismissing the other, or worse, insulting and demeaning them, well, they’re not really acting very Christ-like at all.
That’s a word from Paul to us today, both in the Church and in secular society.