Faith, Hope, and Charity

Those who are old enough would remember the disco band from the 70 s called “Faith Hope and Charity.” Their only hit that I can remember was entitled “To Each His Own” which described how we should not try to interfere in other peoples business.

Perhaps it’s strange that I start with reference to this disco band but it was the irony of the name of the band that led me to reflect on this bible verse in the context of an intriguing article I read recently about moral character.

I have been pondering the messages in the article by David Brooks which was recently published in the New York Times. I shared his article, “The Moral Bucket List” on my Facebook page a few days ago and there are key phrases that have resonated with me since… Here are my favorite three… 1. “Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character”……2. “External success is achieved through competition with others. But character is built during confrontation with your own weakness” …and 3. “But people on the road to inner life do not find their vocations by asking “what do I want from life?” They ask “what is life asking of me?”

This also reminds me of Rick Warren’s “Purpose-driven life” but it goes deeper. The thought that we should be striving for depth of character as opposed to career advancement is the profound message. Many people tend to look at successes in their lives and accomplishments as if they have arrived at a certain level that warrants all the external trappings and superficial tokens of achievement. We create that Bucket List of all the things we must see and do in our lives! I’m no different than everyone else and mine includes visiting some far away, exotic places.

But, David Brooks refers to this Moral Bucket List which he describes as an aspiration to find inner peace, humility, self awareness, commitment, love, and selflessness.
As I continued to reflect on this, I woke up this Sunday morning with 1 Corinthians 13:13 in mind…”and now stays faith, hope, and charity, these three but the greatest of these is charity”. Of course, some versions of this verse refer to “charity” as “love”.

So, these theological virtues seemed to parallel well with what David Brooks called “eulogy virtues” , i. e,, “those ones that are talked about at your funeral whether you were kind, brave, honest, or faithful” and capable of “deep love”.

So, I believe faith, hope and charity/love should be the foundation of our Moral Bucket Lists. Of course, the greatest of these being love…. And I would say we are expected to love one another as we are loved. Perhaps that is what we need more of in the world today…. STILL! Haven’t we heard that before!

I often refer to The Golden Rule and this message, too, is consistent with these moral virtues. Can we continue to talk about compassion, kindness, mutual respect, love, and charity? There is no good place for hate, disrespect, dishonesty, jealousy, or greed on the moral bucket list.

Continue to build your bucket list, but start with moral character!