Monthly Archives: November 2012

Even as I have been fully known

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord; we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. (BCP 95)

The opening lines of the Te Deum really caught my attention this morning, coming as they did on the heels of Paul’s famous “love passage” from the first letter to the Corinthians.

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. (1 Cor. 13:12)

This is a marvelous thing, that we will one day “know fully” and “see face to face” the God that all creation worships. It is just as marvelous to think that we are even now “fully known” by that same God.

I don’t know about you, but I am fortunate to have in my life people who see parts of me more clearly than I can see them myself. When I am not living up to my potential, when I am missing the mark, I can trust them to help me get back on course. Their insight and observations may not be comfortable, but they are true and dependable.

The people in Paul’s congregation at Corinth had fallen way off the rails, and in today’s Epistle reading we see his clear-eyed, firm, but loving response. He knew them fully and loved them deeply.

I thank God that I have people like that in my life, and that from time to time I am the clear-eyed one for someone else. This “knowing and being known” is one of the loveliest aspects of life in the communion of saints, the Body of Christ.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting. (BCP 96)

I mean to be one, too

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 11:39–12:2)

And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green;
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.

And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
and there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
why I shouldn’t be one too.

Once you get past the stereotypical English charm of this hymn, a perennial favorite in the Episcopal Church, there’s a solid message about saintliness.

“They were all of them saints of God, and I mean, God helping, to be one, too.”

The letter to the Hebrews suggests not only what that intention looks like, but who the saints look to: “Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

What weight do you need to set aside? What sin clings so closely to you?

May the presence of Jesus in your life — made known to you in the Scriptures and in fellowship with the saints around you — help you persevere in the race that is set before you.

There’s not any reason, no, not the least, why you shouldn’t be a saint, too.