Love Never Ends
(Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a
One of my favorite Bible readings since childhood is 1 Corinthians 13. In my early teen years, I memorized most of the verses because they spoke strongly to me. However, it was when I learned musical settings of the text and poured out my heart through song that they became one with my soul.
When I was 15, I was asked to sing in various churches across York and Lancaster Counties. When I acquired my driver’s license at 16, I began honoring requests. Several songs I had studied incorporated these verses.
One setting remains firmly engrained in my mind. The singer sustains the word “LOVE” for six slow beats before finishing the phrase “…is of God, and anyone that loveth knoweth God” (1 John 4:7). The song begins with the traits of God’s love and finishes with “Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things…love NEVER ends.”
In this setting, the “sound” of true love unfolds from the singer’s first note: the pure, peaceful aural equivalent of a blooming rose. Musical study invited me to embrace the word (love), consider what the composer wanted to convey (a boundless love that would never fade), and combine this with my spirit’s understanding (unwavering courage). I would start quietly, steadily increasing the volume until I reached “God,” the peak where music and scripture intertwined and became One.
Before singing, I would close my eyes and envision what God’s love might sound like. I envisaged love that was patient (six slow beats is a long time when you are singing one word) and kind (the composer placed the note where it could be sung comfortably, embraced by peaceful chords); love that emanated warmth, with no sounds that suggested arrogance or other human failings. The final words, “Love never ends,” seemed endless – ten even slower beats. I imagined myself being filled with Gospel’s promise, which helped me to sustain the note with confidence until the end. Each time the closing words challenged me to keep my heart open to God’s love so I could pass on the gift.
Although my human failings mean I repeatedly fall short of sharing love as God intends, these words remain a lamppost to guide my journey.
Love never ends.
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.