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A Letter from the Associate Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery

The Greatest of These is Hope!
April 25, 2019

“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13: 13)

I would like to suggest that the greatest of these is HOPE!

Now, I am not trying to pick a fight with the Apostle Paul! (Even though at times that can be a temptation.) Of course, if God is LOVE, there is no force or power in the universe greater than love.

As we live into the season of Eastertide, we celebrate the triumph of God’s love over the world’s hate. Love raised Jesus from death. What other power than divine love streaming from God could overturn the cruel, brutal end to the earthly life of Jesus?

So, I concede that love is the greatest force; love, indeed, is everything.

But during this Eastertide 2019, I want to nominate “Hope” to be the greatest of the three, if only for the time it takes to read and reflect upon these written words.

Faith sustains; love empowers. But HOPE gets us out of bed in the morning.

When Jesus Christ walked out of the tomb and into our faith story by the power of love, he brought Easter Resurrection Hope to every darkened and shadowed part of our lives.

No matter what we are facing on a personal level with family, health, employment, or uncertainty about the future -- HOPE of a better outcome and a new day keeps us going. HOPE brings words of encouragement to those of us who at moments deeply need to hear those words.

When our congregations face an old unreliable boiler, or a leaky roof, or diminishing giving, or a season of transition -- HOPE through the tangible support of other members of our presbytery, our leadership, and our communities, can recharge a faithful band of loving Christians to keep on going!

When our nation quibbles endlessly, and the world witnesses undeserved and violent death in places of worship -- HOPE that we will wake up and come together as faithful and loving servants of the living God and of his Christ, serving others in these troubled times -- keeps us reading, listening, speaking, praying, voting, and getting involved where we can be a hope-filled presence, an optimistic voice.

Therefore, as we celebrate Easter, and wait upon Pentecost, I nominate HOPE, if only for a moment, as the greatest!


The Rev. Dr. Beverly W. James, Associate Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery

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