In 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, we see Paul writing about the importance of love. Hang on a minute, isn’t this week’s Lent theme ‘hoping’? Why, then, are we talking about love today? Well, in this chapter, Paul speaks primarily about love but also reminds us that there are three cardinal virtues: ‘faith, hope and love.’ This ‘trinity’ are inseparable, for hope ties together faith and love and keeps us going in love when perhaps we would like to give up altogether.
Hope keeps us going towards a goal. Paul said, ‘hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.’ (Rom 8:24-25) There is always an elusive quality to hope, but it is hope which keeps us moving on. Matt Redman’s song ‘Hope Is Marching On’ says:
‘Long can be the night of our struggle.
Deep can be the wounds of this life,
But hope lives on in spite of our trials
And these soon shall pass.’
The song goes on to remind us:
‘And Your love, it keeps on lifting me
And Your hope is marching on,
And Your mercy surely carries me
And Your hope is marching on.’ (‘Hope Is Marching On’, Matt Redman)