I Corinthians 13 is a spectacular display of poetry. The poetry is so remarkable that young couples are compelled to use it as a part of their wedding ceremony. And that is a reasonable way of using the text; however, we must understand that the context of I Corinthians 13 bears an infinite amount of weight in light of the church. Interestingly, in chapter 12 we are reminded that we are one church with many members. We are baptized into one body; there is no more division between Jew and Greek. We all, as a community, drink of One Spirit. There is no more ethnic division, no more nationalistic division; Christ is the Lord of all the Church. The church is no longer a single nation, as in the Older Covenant, but a global, cosmic New Israel that is not limited by boundaries, but defined and identified in the greatest lover ever known to man, Christ himself.
This is why chapter 13 is so significant, because individual members do not think of themselves, but of the unity of the community. They give themselves to one another, they sacrifice for one another, and they encourage one another. The body of Christ must understand that if the world looks at us and sees disunity, disharmony, and no love, then we are just a noisy gong. But if there is unity, harmony, and if the body lives the love of Christ within herself, then the world will glorify our father who is in heaven.
When you see all the “I’s” of chapter 13, know that the “I’s” are never separated from the “we’s”. This is why the love of chapter 13 never ends, because the love of Christ for his Church never ends. And so let it be that we love one another world without end. Amen.