Lesson 10: Faith, Hope, & Love

Faith, Hope, and Love artOne of the biggest dilemmas in our time is deciding what we should be doing. Science shows us what is going on, but not what should be changed. The present gridlock in government only reflects how much our society cannot move beyond the status quo. Sometimes we justify our inactivity by claiming our actions would make no difference any way. Things are beyond our control. Sometimes we claim we would act, if we had enough data to show what we should be doing.

Christianity offers The Way to get beyond this fatalism, cynicism, and indifference. When hopeless Jewish slaves cried out in helplessness, God led them to freedom. When apostles felt hopeless at the execution of their Christ, God raised Jesus and them from death. So, too, God calls us into action right when there seems nothing we can do in a threatening situation.

Traditionally, Christians have summarized their decision making with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.

When it comes to Nature, faith in the Christian story means accepting that God made her “good” and gave humanity the responsibility for managing her according to his will. In fact, the story pictures God sharing his Spirit with us, so we can do this.

Hope is accepting God’s promise that he is present and actively working to save his whole creation. The biblical Visions of Hope show us what God has in mind. They give us purpose as we work with Him to make all things new.

Faith and hope are always active in love that expresses the present actions expected of us. This love involves repenting or rethinking what we have been doing. It moves from conventional patterns that deny our true Nature to living according to God’s will.

All Christian actions then can be described as loving. For some time, our churches have preached love for our neighbors. In our day, we must take just as much time proclaiming love for Nature that includes the plants, animals, land, and biosphere in which we live.

Of course, love is a virtue that can be expressed in all different kinds of particular actions. Christians should be constantly conversing about how they think love plays out in our modern world.

And then we should commit ourselves to our decisions. Just as we do not base our actions simply on scientific data, so we do not pursue them only if they seem achievable. Sometimes we act as personal witnesses to what God wants. At other times, we pursue political action. In either case, the old slogan “Think globally; act locally” is helpful.

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