Interlude: Nú hverfur sól í haf, performed by Scola Cantorum Reykjavicensis, on the Meditatio: Music for Mixed Choir album

A reading from First Corinthians [13:4-7]:

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

We’re heading into the peak wedding season, and this passage is a popular one for weddings.  It’s even in the recommended list in the Marriage ceremony rubrics in our book of Common Prayer.

Long before I was paying attention to bible readings in church, my mother admonished me to be sweet, kind, and good.  To act like a lady. Other ways of saying pretty much the same thing St. Paul was saying.

I struggled with the shorthand versions, though, when I entered the workplace, and spent years learning how to weave assertiveness and directness into the sweet, kind and good formula, without losing the core of kind and good that seemed most important. I’m afraid I lost some sweet along the way — although I’ve usually managed to avoid bitter and salty.

As I spend more time in church as an adult, I keep coming back to the Corinthians passage, though, as a guide for living a more Christlike life.  It can be challenging, and I’ve found a pattern. When am I most apt to be unkind, impatient, rude, or irritable? When I’m tired, hungry, or — watch out– both. (It made relating to my infant daughter really easy.)

Not long ago I had a breakthrough on the “tired” challenge.  Being up past my bedtime for a concert, or putting in a long night to meet a deadline in the office — I’d get home, it’s time to sleep.  Yet it would take me forever to wind down. I was physically tired, but my mind was still in high gear. Ah, I know how to fix that. I can close my eyes, follow my breath, and stop hanging on to the thoughts.  Just like meditation. But not just like meditation.  Meditation is being fully present, as we are here, listening for the voice of God, settling into his presence.  Trying to go to sleep is heading in a different direction. It calls for a different mantra – a “lullaby” word. I can’t say how much more sleep I’m getting, but every minute helps.

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. ”

May the guidance in these words, and the meditation in our hearts, bring us all closer to God.

Delivered at Resurrection Catholic Church, Aptos, California, on May 12, 2018.