By Rev Rod Peppiatt, Pilgrim Uniting Church
“As yet we see, in a mirror, dimly, but then – face to face! As yet my knowledge is incomplete, but then I will know in full, as I have been fully known. Meanwhile faith, hope, and love endure – these three, but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12 & 13
1 Corinthians 13 is, for me, one of the scriptures without which my faith and life would shrivel and die. I am constantly delighted, intrigued, or challenged by it – sometimes all at once! The wonderful statements about love in the midst of conflict call my own capacity to love under scrutiny, time and again. But it is these last two verses in particular that always make me catch my breath.
They speak at once of the absolute mystery of GOD, and the glimpses of GOD that we saw in Jesus. They take me back as well to the experience of Moses at the burning bush: wanting to know the name of GOD, and discovering instead the nature: “I AM”. (In recent years I have learned from the wise and faithful people of the Old Testament to use capital G, O, and D: to remind myself that when I use those letters in that order, I am speaking of mystery much deeper and broader than my ability to name).
I have come to love this mystery; to cherish what I don’t know, and to engage with what I do know. And for this, I’m grateful to Jesus, Paul, and all the others who have gone before.
My knowledge of GOD is incomplete. But as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13, we do know some things, and they give us a pretty good idea of how to live the way of Jesus: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is tough, deep, real, human, courageous… love.