Homily for Epiphany 4C on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

A homily on God’s love as the thing that changes us to grow and deepen in our spiritual lives.

St. Paul’s well-known hymn to love contains 15 verbs about what love does (or doesn’t do). Usually in English we translate them as adjectives or abstract ideas: “Love is patient, love is kind…” See the NRSV Bible translation of this passage for an example.

Here’s one way to translate this poem with active verbs in their place:

Love waits and sticks with you.
Love cares and cherishes and treasures.
Love envies not, blusters not, flatters not.

It does not degrade, ego-trip, aggravate or slander.

It does not cheer for injustice, but rallies around the truth.

Everything it protects.
Everything it believes.
Everything it hopes.
Everything it endures.

Love never falls apart.

How would you try to translate this passage to reflect St. Paul’s poem to an active love?

Author: Jason

Rev. Jason Wells is the executive director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches. Prior to this position he served Episcopal congregations in New Hampshire for 13 years after his ordination in 2004. Jason is also a board member of the ACLU-NH. He is a former president of the Greater Concord Interfaith Council and has served on the Episcopal Church's committee on ecumenical and interfaith relationships. Jason received a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and also holds bachelors degrees in computer science and mathematics from Southern Methodist University.