“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. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:12-13
This year has given us little reason to hope and love. And yet we long for both.
This fall we are venturing into a series called “Faithful Action.” We will explore how the Bible and our faith tradition calls us to be faithful citizens, faithful givers, and faithful kin to one another; and in all things express a fiercely compassionate love and tenacious and uncompromising hope… because love and hope are God-given gifts that are best spent as generously as God has loved and hoped for us.
In the book The Good Conscience by Carlos Fuentes, a pivotal moment in the story occurs when the protagonist realizes that his anger at his father is misplaced, that by offering transactional love (only given when his father is ‘worthy’ of receiving it), he himself has become the barrier to love, not his father. So often we make our love contingent, and withhold it when we feel that love is not earned or deserved. So often our hope feels tied to events or circumstances in the world, instead of a faithful trust that God isn’t finished with us. J.I. Parker says, “Optimism is a wish without warrant; Christian hope is a certainty, guaranteed by God.” When we restrict our hope and love, we see only as a reflection in the mirror, and we know only part of the story. When we free ourselves to love as God loves us, and to hope as God hopes for us, that is when we know fully (even as we are fully known by God).
The circumstances we face are difficult, but choosing love and hope will give us life. As Christians we are called to faithful action, to stand together against tyranny and oppression. Let us refuse to cede the privilege of loving and hoping to anyone or anything.