Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle,
and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue
it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living
thing that moves upon the earth.’
Song of Solomon 2.10-13; 8.6,7
My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle dove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.’
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I
made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt –
a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant
that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within
them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No
longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know
me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and
remember their sin no more.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He
who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us
everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is
to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or
distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am
convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to
separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your
bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not
be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may
discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual
affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the
Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the
saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
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. And 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.
If 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.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist
on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the
truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
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. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only
in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When 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. For 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. And now faith, hope,
and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth
takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be
strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your
hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the
power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the
fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than
all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to
everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is
anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have
learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a
complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also
must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect
harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the
one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one
another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 John 3.18-end
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this
we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our
hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our
hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever
we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and
love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him,
and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given
1 John 4.7-12
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is
born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s
love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might
live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to
be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to
love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his
love is perfected in us.
Jesus said, ‘From the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For
this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall
become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined
together, let no one separate.’
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples
spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little
children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God
belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never
enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus
was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave
out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what
concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants,
‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of
purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’
And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief
steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not
know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward
called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the
inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’
Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples
believed in him.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He
removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make
it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide
in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide
in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does
not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown
into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you
wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and
become my disciples.’
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in
my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my
Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy
may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater
love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I
command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what
the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything
that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you
to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in
my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.’