Faith, hope and love remain, these three….
Songwriter, poet, theologian Carrie Newcomer offers a toast, “To the words and how they live between us and to us and how we live between the worth.” I love that and all it holds. And I love thinking of it in this waiting Advent season as I think about these three words: faith, hope, love.
I am thankful to wait in these days with faith. My faith has companioned me through decades of Advents. Early on, my faith was held in the fellowship hall potlucks and hymns sung with people who had known me my whole life. Later my faith stretched beyond what I ever dreamed possible, blessing me and who I loved. Now my faith companions me in times of holding on and letting go. My faith brings strength when there are no answers, no way to fix what is broken. My faith steels me to step out into what is not yet, trusting the light that will surely appear and lead me on.
I am thankful to wait in these days with hope. Hope that does not quit on anyone or anything. Hope that redefines despair. Hope that overcomes hate. Hope that looks beyond what is so very small and wasteful. Hope that cannot be seen or measured. Hope that is circular and true. Hope that bears witness to what seems to be lost and sings a song that joins us all in the most beautiful, life-giving harmonies ever sung.
I am thankful to wait in these days with love. Love that includes us all. Love that goes all the way through and then beyond. Love that burns brightly on the darkest night of the soul. Love that forgives, forgets, and keeps on as healing comes. Love that sees past the worst possible place and invites us back into a centered space. Love that never ends.
Carrie invites us to not lose how we live with these words, each hour of each day – especially, especially when we forget they are there. These words are woven so deeply in me that in times when I am about to give up on the waiting, one of these companions will emerge. Faith. Hope. Love. These three. And Carrie invites us to be mindful of ways that we live in and through these words. From the inside-out they serve as our touchstones. We rub the moments of our lives against them until we are shown what has been there all along.
So, in these early December days as we make our way in and through the living of our days may these words serve as our guides. When you begin to wonder if you have somehow lost your way, listen for them. Wait on them. Faith, hope and love, these three remain. The writer of the epistle says, “the greatest of these is ..”