Monday, October 15, 2007

Faith, Hope, and Love

Monday, October 15, 2007 -- Week of Proper 23
(Teresa of Avila, Nun, 1582)

"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from (go to St. Paul's Home Page and click "Morning Reflection podcast")

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Prayer Book, p. 988)
Psalms 1, 2, 3 (morning) 4, 7 (evening)
Jeremiah 36:11-26
1 Corinthians 13:(1-3)4-13
Matthew 10:5-15

1 Corinthians 13 is among the best known passages in the Christian scriptures, largely because it is used so often at weddings. It is known as "the love chapter." It is beautiful and poetic. It is also deeply personal to Paul.

Although the words resonate for all of us, when you read them as the particular witness of Paul, they describe something of his own understanding of how he practiced his ministry.

He exercised the gifts of speaking in tongues and of preaching. He claimed prophetic powers and taught the mystery of the revealed knowledge brought to us through Christ. He gave away his possessions in order to travel and teach. His body was arrested, beaten, and imprisoned. He says of his own experience, without love, it is nothing.

Then he describes love in terms of how he has practiced his ministry, often in the midst of conflict, especially with this congregation in Corinth. He has worked to be patient and kind, not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. In some things he has not insisted on his own way. He has forgiven, and let go of irritation and things to resent. He has not rejoiced in wrongdoing, but has rejoiced in the truth. Paul has born all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and certainly endured all things.

He speaks of the aspects of his ministry which, though valuable, do not endure -- prophecy, tongues, and knowledge. Whatever he experiences of these is only partial. It will be transcended in the last day. We only know in part, we only "see in a mirror, dimly."

But he looks forward to seeing Christ face to face, when he will fully know and be fully known. What abides forever is faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.

In Christian tradition faith, hope, and love are known as the Cardinal Virtues, the prime virtues from which all good comes. In the opening salutation of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians he writes, "We always give thanks to God for all of you... constantly remembering... your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." And in the letter to the Colossians there is a similar greeting: "In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven."

I think that we'll hear a presentation from Bill Countryman when he speaks in our McMichael Lecture Series in a couple of weeks proposing that these three qualities -- faith, hope, and love -- are the distinctive Christian lens for our reading and interpretation of the scripture and for the orientation of our lives.

Faith as trust in God, hope as hope in God, and love as the expression of hopeful trust is a succinct description of the characteristically Christian stance toward all of life. ...including all of the stuff that Paul mentions has been important to him and to his ministry, but does not truly endure like these three.

What will today be like if we walk into it with a conscious intention to experience the day only through the lens of faith, hope, and love? That's today's invitation from our friend Paul.



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The Rev. Lowell Grisham
Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, AR

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life:
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.


At 10:10 AM, Blogger The Underground Pewster said...

Thanks, too bad people restrict these words to the marriage ceremony.


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