INVOCATION and READING
Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control,
our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed;
by this we worship, and are freed.
UMH #408, st. 3
1 Corinthians 13
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. 2And 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. 3If 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.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 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. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When 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. 12For 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. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Glory to you, O God of love!
“The Gift of Love”
Though it is based on the above reading from 1 Corinthians, often read at weddings, this hymn is not found in the “marriage” section of our hymnal. It is found, rather, in the “Personal Holiness” section. In this reading, Paul is describing that ultimate, selfless love – agape. While very meaningful for couples exchanging vows, this kind of love is to come from each of us toward all of humanity. We may possess impressive spiritual gifts, have a deep and abiding faith, or demonstrate boundless charity. Paul wants the people of Corinth to understand, however, that all of these gifts are totally meaningless if not prompted and guided by love. And so, we ask the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts as we learn to offer most freely our gifts and blessings, asking for nothing in return. Only then are we living as God commands. Only then do we find that such love bears, believes, hopes, and endures everything. We are made whole, and are freed to glimpse the glory of God – looking toward the day when
we will see Him, beyond metaphor, more fully than we ever thought possible. Praise God!
This hymn’s creator, Hal Hopson (b.1933), is a full time composer, arranger, and church musician residing in Texas. With over 3000 works published across the spectrum of church music, Hopson is known to have special interest in congregational song. He is also a sought after clinician and conductor.
Arguably Mr. Hopson’s most popular work, “The Gift of Love” was originally written as a 2 part choral anthem in 1972. It wasn’t until several years later that he was asked to format it as a congregational hymn. Now found in many hymnals, our current hymnal, The 1989 United Methodist Hymnal, was the first to include it.
Hopson’s thoughtful paraphrase of I Corinthians 13:1-3 was set to his own adaptation of a lovely English folk tune, “O Waly, Waly.” An American folksong expert, Cecil Sharp, collected and published the melody in his 1906 Folk Songs from Somerset. This melody, originally in triple meter, had already been used as a hymn tune in England.
Hear now Hal Hopson’s original choral setting of “The Gift of Love,” sung by the choir of First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, NC:
Bless us with Love, O Merciful God;
That we may Love as you Love!
That we may show patience, tolerance,
Kindness, caring and love to all…
O Compassionate One, grant compassion unto us;
That we may help all fellow souls in need!
Bless us with your Love O God.
Bless us with your Love.
– Author Unknown
May the people of Calvary UMC always offer their best in all that emanates from that beautifully sacred place. And may all that is offered be inspired by love, created by love, and given freely – as a gift – a gift of love.