Paul wrote to the church about gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 telling the early believer how critical each gift and individual was to the whole body of Christ. In chapter 13 he explained that all the gifts combined allow us to live together in faith, hope, and love.
Many couples pick this chapter, most especially, as their wedding reading. How many times have couples heard these words believing them to be instructions about how to live,
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. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NRSV
Young lovers believe Paul was writing about them. They believe in the power of their love to bear all things and endure all things. This is the kind of gift any human would like to offer a spouse. Saddy no human love can overcome all challenges and sustain us human lovers in all circumstances. We might deny our limits; but denial doesn't mean they are any less real. A wise teacher explained this so plainly it left a class of future pastors and church workers stunned. Years later I think back to those words every time I meet with a couple in any stage of marriageAs parents we dream and pray that we can promise our children love without condition. George Strait even sang about a father's love as a Love Without End, Amen. As wonderful as the promise of a parents to always love and care for a child sounds we have no power to keep it.
We humans are often romantics in love with love; and we are often cynics who believe there is no love. What we are finding are the limits of human love: mortality and falability. We might promise to love unconditionally, but we can't fulfill the promise. Only God can love without end. Only God's love known to those who believe in the risen Son gives hope of knowing life and love that has no end. Only in Christ risen from the dead is there love without end, AMEN.