Dear Hyde Park Family,

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

One of my favorite contemporary Christian musicians is Andrew Peterson, whose song “No More Faith” unlocked a new insight for me into this verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Peterson recognizes that the chief importance of the first two words, faith and hope, is in enabling us to reach out into the unknown and hold onto promise and possibility. We need faith to believe the impossible; we need hope to believe that it will come true. At the end, however, Paul says that only love remains.

Why? Because in the end, only love will be necessary. When our race is run, when we step from the limitations of this life into the next, when we experience the glory of God’s eternal embrace, faith and hope will be unnecessary. We will no longer need faith to believe in that which will have been fully revealed to us. We will no longer need hope to claim a promise which will have already been given to us in Jesus.

Peterson sings,

           I say faith is a burden, it’s a weight to bear
           It’s brave and bittersweet
           And hope is hard to hold to
           Lord I believe, only help my unbelief
           Till there’s no more faith and no more hope
           I’ll see your face and Lord I’ll know
          That only love remains

Love is the only thing that is necessary, for only love will remain. That is why the greatest of these is love.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

The best part is, that same love of God and others is something we can experience and practice right now. For John Wesley, the truest and best evidence of the quality of one’s Christian life was the degree to which the love of God was “shed abroad in their hearts.” It is found in the way a person chooses to love God with their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and others as themselves.

So, 1 Corinthians 13 is a fitting end to our worship series “Make a Difference,” which concludes this Sunday. And as you continue to discern ways that you will make a difference for God through your passions, talents, and spiritual gifts, I would like to offer these words:

Thank you.

Thank you for taking God’s call seriously to go and make a difference in the world. And I’m not just talking about the many ways so many of you serve the ministries of this church.

I also thank God for all you do in the community that has nothing to do with Hyde Park United Methodist, but you do them out of your Christian convictions and your desire to love God and others.

You are foster parents and guardian ad litems, volunteers for the PTA and the school boosters and the Junior League, Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders, sports coaches and pro bono attorneys. You use your voice in city hall meetings, your feet in justice marches, your ears in nursing home visits, your hands in food tents. You are teaching your children strong values, and having earnest, empathetic conversations with people with whom you disagree. You are Meals on Wheels, the Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, Metropolitan Ministries, and so much more. You are the hands and feet of Christ.

You are making a difference, in this church, through this church and outside this church.
You do it out of faith.
You do it out of hope.
But mostly, you do it out of love.

Thank you for taking God’s call seriously to go and make a difference in the world. And I’m not just talking about the many ways so many of you serve the ministries of this church.

I also thank God for all you do in the community that has nothing to do with Hyde Park United Methodist, but you do them out of your Christian convictions and your desire to love God and others.

Thank you.

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

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