1 Corinthians 13 … the online version?

I’ve been musing on the topic of love ahead of preaching at the weekend. The Gospel lesson is John 17: 20-26 where Jesus prays to God that those who come after him would be one, and known for their love.

It set me thinking about the many times that Internet discussions get way out of hand. So here is an adapted 1 Corinthians 13, the famous Bible chapter on love.

If I speak in the tongues of Google and of LinkedIn, but do not have love, I am a noisy ringtone or a nuisance call. And if I have blogging powers, and understand all mysteries of code and all knowledge of hashtags, and if I have all Facebook, so as to ‘friend’ many, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my PayPal balance, and if I hand over my smartphone so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on having the last word; it is not interested in a flame war; it does not rejoice in cyberstalking, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

But as for updates, they will come to an end; as for multiple online identities, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we tweet only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I Snapchatted like a child, I thought like a child, I shared like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish updates. For now we see pixels in a screen, dimly, but then we will see Facetime to Facetime. Now the Wikipedia page is only a stub but it doesn’t stop me writing about it; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known – and will know when to be offline. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

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