Love is theoretical for many young people. They don’t believe they can truly be loved or to love someone else because they’re not perfect or don’t meet someone else’s standard. This could not be further from the truth. Young people have a great capacity for love when they feel how they are loving others is not being judged.
This is not just true for students. Adults grow up with a wrong definition of love and perpetuate it based on the wrong definition they received. I Corinthians is the definitive of what love is and is reflected in the life of Christ.
Use this responsive reading to inform but also encourage students that they are loved by and have the capacity to love like God.
Speaker: If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
Students: I’m not a great speaker, but I can love like God.
Speaker: If 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 do not have love, I am nothing.
Students: I’m not the smartest person or a person of great faith, but I can love like God .
Speaker: If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Students: I’m not the richest or the bravest person, but I can love like God.
Speaker: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Students: I can and will love those who are not like me, because God has shown patience and kindness to me. I am not too proud to love.
Speaker: It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Students: God has forgiven me of my sins and I can forgive the sins of others.
Speaker: Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Students: Because I am loved, I will protect my neighbor from evil actions and words. I will trust others to do their best I will hope in God and I will not give up loving others even if they hurt me. God’s love has never failed me.
Speaker: But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
Students: I love other imperfectly, but at the end of the day, it’s all I have to give and it is enough.
Speaker: When 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 the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a 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.
Students: Now is the time for me to put away childish things like foolish grudges and prejudice and mature in how I love others. God wants me to grow in love.
Speaker: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Students: Love is more than words, it is a verb and I will lover others as God has loved me. Amen.