...and the greatest of these is Love
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NRSV)
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
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.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Once upon a time, many years ago when there were many angry people in the church, a group of us started meeting together at a friend's home to claim this Love St. Paul so beautifully describes. We called ourselves "1st Corinthians 13." We met weekly, and our agenda was to support each other through those dark days when people lashed out about why our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should not hold places of leadership in the church.
Though one of our group was a priest, he was not allowed to bring us communion, and as a result of our actions, some of us were removed from leadership positions in the church. Those days are over, long ago and far away...but they did a great deal of damage to the institutional church in our little corner of the world.
However... the Love was never lost. That Love still holds us together. When we see each other in passing, there is a twinkle in our eyes that reminds us of that Love. Today we refer to ourselves as Lovers and more and more, men and women are claiming that Love.
As is always the case with God, Love wins.