Image: Icon of the Apostle Paul (detail) by Aidan Hart (

‘Love’s great themes’

Andrew Collis
The wedding of Michael MacKenzie-Shreenan and Robin Moffat
1 Corinthians 13:1-13

“Even if I can speak in all the tongues of earth – and those of the angels too – but do not have love, I am just a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal …” (1 Corinthians 13:1ff.).

I’m glad we have this passage from the apostle Paul …

I sometimes struggle to follow Paul’s theological arguments, copy-pasting as he does from Hebrew prophecy and apocalyptic as well as Greek mythology and magic. 

It’s helpful to hear these words about love … focussed, impassioned, poetic:

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, and it is not snobbish; it is never rude or self-seeking; it is not prone to anger, nor does it brood over injuries. Love doesn’t rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices in the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. Love never fails …”

We ask a lot of this one word. 

Poetry helps. And stories help. 

The apostle Paul never met Jesus. He persecuted early followers of the Way (of Jesus), then came to see this Way in light of equality and inclusivity; in light of liberty. 

He preached the Cross (of Jesus), which means he made crucial distinctions between aggression and grace, “power over” and “power with”. 

Whatever his failings (and whatever the failings of his acolytes), that’s how I hear his story.

Mike and Robin’s story is set in Scotland, England, Australia … in the mountains among the eucalypts … aboard planes, trains and yachts … a long engagement marked by love of computers, chemistry and community …

A wedding day to celebrate with friends and family.

Thank you, both, for inviting us … including us …

May your story continue. May it echo love’s great themes. 

May it unfold in delightful ways. May it write you, enfold and bless you. Amen.