Monday, September 1, 2014

The Eyes of Faith, Hope, and Love

"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor. 13:13).

One way to understand faith, hope, and love is to imagine that each one has a pair of eyes.  And then to ask the questions: What does faith see?  What does hope see?  And what does love see?

Faith sees the cross.  Faith is cross-eyed and sees nothing else in all the world save the incarnate, innocent, crucified Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord Christ.  Faith sees in this One the full bloody payment for all sins.  Faith is a constant gaze at Christ crucified, and especially in the hour of death.  "Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes."

Hope sees the resurrection.  Hope is the Easter morning moment when "the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed" (John 20:8).  And hope then turns that moment into a lifetime.  Hope sees through the present struggle and gory suffering to a glorious future.  Hope sees nothing but the glorious risen Lord.  As a Navy chaplain I did not carry a weapon.  (Chaplains are noncombatants.)  Marines always wanted to know how that felt.  I told them how I understood it.  I told them that it stood for a hope, in the midst of war, that Someday there will be peace and no need for weapons.

And love sees people.  Love sees a world of people in need of love - and feels for them.  Who are they in your world?  They are near.  They are your family.  They are coming your way today, and you are going theirs.  They need God's love, and you have it to give.  They are not always easy to love, but love these the most.

Now love is called the greatest.  Why so?  Three reasons can be given.  (1) True Christian love implies the presence of faith and hope.  Love therefore represents the greatest quantity.  (2) Love is the one that makes us most like God who "so loved the world."  (3) And love is the only one that can lead others to faith, hope, and love.

O Lord, open the eyes of my faith to see Your cross.  Open the eyes of my hope to see Your resurrection.  And open the eyes of my love to see people the way You do.  Amen.