In a reading I asked my cousin to do, he read 1 Corinthians 13 at my brother’s funeral:
“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. 2 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. 3 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.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.11 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. 12 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.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Whether you are Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or atheist, I think it would be universal to say that those words were eloquently stated.
I picked this reading for the service because after going through different Bible verses, I really felt that this encompassed Ed. All he ever wanted to do was shower me with love and affection, through gifts, actions, and words. I finished the book Where is God When It Hurts? today, and a quote in it from Jean Vanier stood out to me. The question asked was, what can we do to help those who hurt? Who can help us when we suffer? Vanier responded, “Wounded people who have been broken by suffering … ask for only one thing: a heart that loves and commits itself to them, a heart full of hope for them.”
It’s really true. When we are hurt, we just want people to be there for us – with us in person, and if not physically there, with us through the phone, through letters, cards, and e-mails. No one wants a generic “we are thinking about you,” without the person actually reaching out to say it. We don’t want people reaching out months later saying, “Sorry I never reached out. I just didn’t know what to say.” Those of us who hurt just want love.