I Corinthians 13: 8-13
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
A Word of Hope
During my youth ministry career, I was challenged to write about what can be learned about the nature of God and our relationship to God by observing adolescence.
The initial conclusions were not favorable. God is moody? God is excessively smelly? God can’t focus?
As I thought about adolescence, what became clearer to me is that our relationship to God evolves and ever evolves.
As a pre-teen, a person is recently connected to childhood. They can easily remember a simpler relationship with the world. We’re playing with toys, creating art from crayons, hugging stuffed animals, and our parent(s) are amazing providers of chicken nuggets… and everything else we need.
Entering the teenage years, a person begins dreaming of what adulthood will be like. They begin to have a dim idea of what it means to have a career, fall in love, and live independently.
Meanwhile, this teen is also navigating adolescence and it’s a confusing mess. The body is awkward and changing, expectations of independence stress the mind, and figuring out sexuality and identity becomes a priority.
In today’s reading, Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians that our relationship to God in this life may be that of an adolescent. “We see only a reflection in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face” says Paul. “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
I take comfort in knowing that sometimes our adult relationship with God is that of a moody, smelly, unfocused 13-year-old. I rest in the idea that while we sometimes only see a reflection of what we are meant to me; God sees us face-to-face. While we know some things about our fears, our hopes, and our faith; God knows us intimately, lovingly, completely.
I’m grateful for a God that knows me not only as who I was and who I am, but knows me as a completed creation. I’m grateful for a God that loves me like a patient parent who sees what I can be.
Loving Christ. You see me completely. You know me fully. I’m grateful that you nurture me in this life. I’m grateful that you love me unconditionally. Amen.