“The Greatest of These” by Tania Runyan

          1 Cor 13

Embraces the woman whose child screams
on the floor of the cereal aisle.
Enters the friend’s new mansion,
lifts eyes to the skylights, gives thanks.
Yields the last word on the Facebook fight.
Looks the frowning barista in the eye.
Takes a breath and thanks God
there is even a zipper to get stuck.
Sends a gift to the wall-punching uncle.
Glances away from the handcuffed boys
on the side of the road and prays.
Smiles and listens to the grandmother complain
about her knees, rubs the knees,
ladles another bowl of soup.
Believes there is a reason that slumped man
in the alley was born. Trusts he’ll believe it.
Endures the quiet, thankless song of work.
Echoes long after the cymbals have died.

This poem is from Second Sky by Tania Runyan (Cascade/Wipf & Stock, 2013), a collection that “intertwines the life and writings of the Apostle Paul with the spiritual journey of a modern suburban woman confronting the broken world.” Used with permission.

One thought on ““The Greatest of These” by Tania Runyan

  1. [audio src="https://www.smallchurchmusic.com/2013/MP3/MP3-HarkTheSound-Vision-PipeAS-128-CAM.mp3" /]

    If my loveless talk may sound like angel speech, or human tongue,
    it’s no better than the clang of cymbals or a noisy gong.
    If I lovelessly profess to see ahead or understand,
    faith avails me not at all. I’m like a building set on sand.
    —–
    Nothing I can give of which I otherwise might think to boast
    gains me any priv’lege if it’s handed over without love.
    Love is seen in patience, kindness, humble speech and courtesy.
    Love is absent where the skin is thin and what is wrong brings glee.
    —–
    Where there’s truth, true love rejoices, bears, believes, and hopes all things.
    Unlike showy gifts and knowledge, love endures and ever sings.
    What we’re knowing now is partial; like so much, “it all depends.”
    Trust eternally in faith and hope and love (which never ends).
    ———-
    Photo: “stagg cymbals 2” by bigdrumthump.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0
    Source: I Corinthians 13:1-14
    Text: David Alexander, 2022, CC BY-NC SA 4.0
    Tune: Vision, Public Domain
    Score: https://www.smallchurchmusic.com/2013/Score/HarkTheSound-Vision.pdf
    Audio: http://www.smallchurchmusic.com Used by permission

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