Sunday, August 26, 2018

The greatest of these is love

St Paul looked into the future and foresaw a day when all his long studying and soul-searching was behind him, when his eloquence would no longer matter. He could foresee the end of himself, and the end of all things, including all the most excellent accomplishments of mankind: "Knowledge will pass away," and "the imperfect disappears". Instead of seeing these things with pessimism ("Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless!"), he saw them with the confidence in the resurrection that ran so strong in the generation that had seen Jesus' resurrection: that when our best efforts have passed away, "These three remain: Faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love."

Even in this world, if I look at the times that I treasure, they are times filled with faith, hope, and love. If I search for memories that I treasure, and people that I treasure, and stories of their actions that I would pass on, I look at these memories and see that they are the ones when people act with faith, hope, and love. Here and now, our best efforts are not of any great value without those things. "If I speak with the tongue of angels, but have no love" it is an intensely painful sound. "If I understand all mysteries but have no love, I am nothing."

"These three remain: Faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love." Those are the things that make any action memorable -- or worthy of memory. May they be the basis for my actions.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wisdom in the age of information

This morning as I read a Bible commentary, the commentator acknowledged that one particular passage was open to several interpretations which all seem valid, and included this comment:
If we search the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation in an effort to shed light on a particular statement of the Bible and fail to find the answer we are seeking, that does not mean that our efforts have all been useless. Just think of all the other information we might glean in the process. (From the Albrecht & Albrecht commentary on Matthew 10:23)
Is the Word of God intended to give us information? I ask that question in the context of the thought that information has a place in building our understanding. So information adds to knowledge, which (we hope) adds to understanding, which (we hope) adds to wisdom. I'll assume the best of the commentators and figure they meant the knowledge gleaned would increase our wisdom and understanding; if not, it's trivial.

There have been artists who paint with dots ("pointillism" is the name of the style) on the assumption that our minds will connect the dots and arrive at a larger understanding. But what if they didn't? What if we scanned a picture from top to bottom and only came a way with a collection of dots? What if we searched the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and only came away with gleaned information? When we search the Bible from start to end, the points there add up to a picture: God who loves us, God who reaches out to form relationships with people, God who orders the world to bless our lives, God who has compassion on our weakness and binds the wounds of the brokenhearted, God who stands with us in our trials, God who will not let corruption and evil continue forever, God who is faithful to the promises that he makes us.

As I read, may I seek not so much to have "the right answer" on one point, as to connect the dots.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Bible Verses - Gratitude for those who comfort the mourning

  1. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. - Ecclesiastes 7:2
  2. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress - James 1:27 (I figure this is applicable to comforting anyone who is bereaved)
  3. A timely word--how good that is! - Proverbs 15:23
  4. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. - Proverbs 25:11

  5. There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. - Proverbs 18:24

Sunday, August 05, 2018


There has been a death in the family, and there will be no post this weekend.