Scot McKnight on optimistic love believing and hoping

The four lines quoted from 1 Corinthians  [13:7] at the head of today’s reading are best understood from the middle out: believing and hoping give rise to bearing and enduring.

[Love] bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things

What is it that the optimism of love believes? That good always happens? No, that would be contrary to everything we know and experience. That a cheery outlook on life makes the sky bluer? Perhaps it does, but that is surely not Paul’s point. Or that if we believe hard enough, what we want most will happen? This would make us in charge of the world. No, what Paul has in mind is far more profound.

The optimistic love Paul teaches is an optimism that emerges from believing and hoping in God. Three thoughts shape Paul’s optimism: God’s unending, unstoppable, unconditional love; the fact that Good Friday gave way to Easter morn; and the reality that God’s Spirit was now unleashed in humans to empower them to become the “new creation.” Because of the Father’s love, the Son’s victory, and the Spirit’s power, genuine love can believe and hope that somehow, someday, things will change.

Scot McKnight, 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed, 164-165.

prayer for the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known o us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer