1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:8
As the Olympic Games open in Beijing, my thoughts go back to Eric Liddell, a former champion immortalized for his surprising gold medal victory in the 400 meters during the 1924 Games in Paris. A year after his triumph, Liddell went to China, where he spent the last 20 years of his life as a missionary teacher and rural pastor. There he ran the greatest race of his life against opponents we all know—difficult circumstances, war, uncertainty, and disease.
Crowded into a Japanese internment camp with 1,500 other people, Eric lived out the words he had paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 13:6-8— “Love is never glad when others go wrong. Love finds no pleasure in injustice, but rejoices in the truth. Love is always slow to expose, it knows how to be silent. Love is always eager to believe the best about a person. Love is full of hope, full of patient endurance; love never fails.”
Eric served the others in camp, whether carrying water for the elderly or refereeing games for the teens. When he died of a brain tumor in February 1945, one internee described him as a man “who lived better than he preached.”
In life’s most difficult race, Eric Liddell crossed the finish line victorious through love. — David C. McCasland
O for a love that knows no end,
A love that is strong and pure,
Reaching afar to both foe and friend,
So deep it will always endure. —R. De Haan
Love enables us to walk fearlessly, to run confidently, and to live victoriously.
1 Corinthian 13 is very special to me. It represents at least of couple of firsts. I first read it from a free copy of the Living Bible New Testament when I was eleven. It was also among the earliest flash movies I produced for the website.
I first cam across the story of Eric Liddell in the famous movie, "The Chariots of Fire". Ever since, I have often heard its theme music. Each time it is played, I will picture Eric and the other running at the edge of the beach as it was depicted in the movie.
I went to look up for additional resources on Eric Liddell and discovered that there is an Eric Liddell Centre. I would encourage you to visit.