And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Faith is grounded in the past. It is birthed from the testimonies of saints who have walked before us. It is shaped by our prior experiences of the perceived power and presence of God. We heard, we felt, we saw, and we believed—all past tense. We are here today as survivors of all that has happened in our past. We believe God has walked with us through each of these chapters of our lives to bring us to this moment. Faith is grounded in the past.
Hope is focused on the future. The best of what could be tomorrow often gets us through the worst of what is today. Being able to look forward is a powerful draw. If you are needing something to look forward to, here are a few glimpses into the future of First Baptist Greenville: Saturday Night Facebook Live concerts (Saturday nights April 18-May 31 on the church’s Facebook page), our first Sunday back together in the Sanctuary (smiles and tears and—in the words of a great music documentary—it might get loud), opening day of Day School, Candlelight Lessons and Carols, 2021 Churchwide Retreat with (wait…can I tell you this?…yeah…no need to keep it a secret…) guest speaker, Philip Gulley! Philip is the author of multiple books including: If Grace Is True, If God Is Love, the Harmony Series of novels and more. He is an incredibly humorous and insightful Quaker pastor and has agreed to spend some time with First Baptist Greenville! The best of tomorrow often gets us through the worst of today…but hope is still focused on the future.
The greatest of these is love. Love is here and now. I value the traditions and moorings of my faith. I truly look forward to our future, but holding to faith or hope alone takes me out of the present. Constantly reciting my past or wishing for my future are obstacles to living the moment that is given to me today. Love keeps me here. Love lays down the extended calendar (in both directions) and creates space for me to call you, write you, text you, pray for you, wave at you today. Cling to the faith of your past. Glance at the hope of your future. But live and love today…