Tuesday (December 7, 2021)
“For this very reason you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
I can remember, as a kid, falling in love with the humor of the old “circle song,” There’s a Hole in the Bucket. As I’m sure many of you know, it is a silly song in which a man poses the problem to his wife that there is a leak in the only bucket they own. She proposes a simple solution, and he replies with a new problem, which she solves, causing him to pose a new problem, until it comes full circle to the place where all of her solutions are impossible because… well, because there is a hole in the bucket.
Silly though it may be, the song points to a common experience of “everything leaning on something else.” There’s no point in replacing the kitchen faucet without replacing the old sink, and you can’t replace the old sink without new countertops, and if you are going to redo the countertops, you really should… you know the story. And the end result, as we know, is paralysis.
Curiously, St. Peter, in his second letter, sets up a similar chain reaction to explain the relationship between faith and love. To keep our faith strong, we must pay attention to our goodness, which depends upon knowing right from wrong, which depends upon our self-control to choose the right, etc. At the end, the whole chain depends upon love. But it seems to me that Peter left out the last verse of the song. Because if it is true that strong faith depends upon a foundation of love, it is equally true that our capacity to love depends upon our faith.
We live in a world that is really difficult to love. There is so much anger, and violence, and cruelty, and greed and ignorance and disrespect. And it seems like no matter where you enter the circle, it always leads you back to the place where you began, which is the seeming impossibility of loving any of it. The possibility of love leans on the foundation of FAITH that God loved the world enough to give his only son to save it. And if I have faith in God’s love for the world, how can I possibly refuse to love it as much as God does?
And that, friends, is the possibility and promise of Christmas… and the end of the song.
Pastor Wayne Miller
Stir up your power, O God, and come. Grant us the faith that permits us to love… and the love to let everyone see our faith. Amen.