Faith, Hope and Love

We all need a little Faith, Hope and lots of Love at the moment.

I had just left university and gone to live in London.  Even though I was being managed By Rock Promoter Harvey Goldsmith my plans for a stellar career as a singer songwriter were starting to fall apart as the music business turned to punk.

My manager Harvey Goldsmith

I remember asking a music business friend what I should do, and he said, ‘You’ve got to hustle’.  I started playing in wine bars and clubs, cover songs mostly with the odd original thrown in because no one was listening. I was living in a little flat, feeling lonely and very sorry for myself.

They often say there are ‘no atheists in foxholes’ and with money getting tight I called out to the universe for some help.  I was struggling but as a young man, as yet untainted by cynicism, I was delighted, but not at all surprised when I got a call out of the blue; an invitation to play piano on a Gospel tour of the UK.  It was a big tour as well taking in some of the biggest venues in the country including the Royal Albert Hall. 

Gospel Music at the Royal Albert Hall

At one of the early get together sessions the man in charge of the tour asked the collective band and support team for a definition of faith.  I wanted to bring a little fun to the fairly serious gathering. 

“Faith means believing in something you know isn’t true…”

It didn’t go down too well and probably marked me out as one to keep an eye on but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my ‘humorous’ response. Maybe now, more than any other time in my life I need a little faith and it better mean a bit more than that.

I think that this has been the week when many of us hit a bit of a wall.  At the beginning, the lock down was a novelty, something strange, we’re all in this together, like a very long snow day.  That has now changed and over the past week the news from across the world has made many of us question, well…just about everything.

So, what are we going to do?  Should we just give up or is there something that we can do?

Having been brought up in a little Gospel Hall in Manselton I spent a lot of time with a Bible.  One verse always stuck in my mind…

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

(1 Corinthians 13 verse 13 New International version)

Rather than sticking with my definition of faith I decided to use a dictionary.

‘Faith’ Noun ‘great trust or confidence in something or someone’

Over the past few weeks my faith has been shaken in some politicians and by some of those in authority.  Documentaries like ‘Filthy Rich’, the one about the millionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein has made me question if humanity can ever be saved from itself.   

But with all of that in many other ways my faith has also been restored in people.  The volunteers, the care workers and NHS staff.  Simple acts of kindness by strangers who have become friends. 

The world is on fire and I am one small person but today I want to choose faith, faith that this is not the way it has to be and that gives me hope.

‘Hope’ Verb ‘to want something to happen or to be true, and usually have a good reason to think that it might:

If the Jeffrey Epstein Documentary led me to the edge of despair the Michelle Obama documentary ‘Becoming’ on Netflix brought me real hope. Since her husband left the White House Michelle Obama has probably had more of the spotlight. 

The documentary follows her on a national tour to promote her new book ‘Becoming’.  Most people on a book tour go to a variety of small bookshops, her book launch took on a series of one night stand interviews in packed arenas right across the USA.

The book tells the unlikely story of an African American from the South Side of Chicago who became the First Lady of the United States of America. It was a great story but the word I kept hearing was hope.  

But like Faith, hope need a bit of backbone.  This is what her husband Barack Obama said in Nov 2017

It seems that hope is a bit more than just wishful thinking and needs a bit of courage, work and fight to help it along the way.

And so, to Love, the greatest of them all.

I was listening to a BBC podcast called ‘The Story of the King James Bible’.  It’s a fascinating account of why and how this translation of the Bible came about.  King James brought together 6 teams of translators made up of 47 men who were allocated different parts of the Bible to translate into English. Upon completion of their sections they read their work out aloud. It must have been a bit like the King James Bible – Eurovision Song Contest.

BBC RADIO 4 KING JAMES BIBLE

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00xh4s3

If a passage was read and the rest of the translators said nothing it went through into the finished Bible.  But at any point people could object. At that stage there would be a discussion about how it should be changed to satisfy everyone. Of course, you can’t please everyone even with a Bible. One scholar who had been excluded from the translation process said,

“I would rather be torn in pieces by wild horses than that this abominable translation (KJV) should ever be foisted upon the English people”

So why did that old Bible say, ‘the greatest of these is Charity’ and not love.  There are arguments made about staying close to the Latin Bible used by most up until that time but maybe there was another reason. 

The podcast suggests that if the greatest thing is ‘Charity’, then as a rich person that would mean you could fulfil your obligation to God and man if you just hand out ‘stuff’ to the poor at your gates.  But if the greatest thing is ‘Love’ that is between 2 equal human beings, rich man and poor man and ‘God Knows’ where that might end.

As the podcast says.  A lot of objections were raised during the reading aloud of the suggested translation.  No one objected to using ‘Charity’ instead of ‘Love’.

In these dangerous times let us not lose faith, let us fight to bring hope and may our love shine through not as a charitable obligation but from one human being to another.

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