“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:12-13).
I realized this last year that there were many pieces of my dad that I lost before his actual death in December 2020. My dad, whose birthday was Nov. 10, used to give the best bear hugs but depending on a walker and sitting in his individual chair rather than the sofa changed the frequency with which he gave hugs. I am convinced I am a pastor, at least in part, because of singing with my dad’s beautiful baritone voice for years in the car and in the church pew. But he did not sing as much in the last few years. Everyone who met my dad talked about his laugh and that too tapered off with age. What never left was my dad’s love. One of his last good days in the residential Hospice, after mom and I decided to go home for the day, I told him I loved him. He grabbed my arm, looked me straight in the eye and said in an urgent whisper, “I love you too!” He meant it and he wanted me to hear it. Dad’s love for kids, for those experiencing homelessness, for the marginalized was also steady throughout his life, including his final days. He tried to always see with the eyes of faith and a heart full of love. He yelled at the television over injustices even in the last weeks of his life. Whenever we talked, he asked about Trinity New Hope and Peace Camp–ministries serving the neighbor. Love remained even when other pieces of him faded away.
So much has changed for followers of Jesus in the past 18 months–the way we gather for studies, the way we worship, the needs of our local community and the global community. What has remained steady is God’s love for the world and the imperative to love our neighbor. The incarnation is one of the greatest reminders of God’s love. Not unlike my dad making sure I heard him voice his love for me, God says “I love you so much world, that I am going to come and live among you!”
Let us pray...
Gracious God, you came as Immanuel, God with us. You are love and for that we give thanks. Teach us to love one another. Amen.