There is a still more excellent way.
St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and 13, points out that there are many different kinds of gifts, but there is a still more excellent way.
This makes me wonder how many times we have things in our life that are seemingly good, and we stop there. Not realizing there is a still more excellent way.
I want to apply that idea to another concept. “We look for love in all the wrong places.” We all look for love. Desperately sometimes. We settle for something that may look like love but is not. I worked with behavior disorder children when I was younger. It was amazing the things they would do or go through to attract attention. Is attention the same as love? No. Attention can be beating the crap out of someone. “They may be beating me up, slapping me around; but at least they are paying attention to me!” “I really don’t like getting arrested, but my parents have to pay attention to me now by coming to get me out. And now I go to a special school just for trouble makers like me.” Or “He is really nice to me when he is not drunk.”
Those may be extreme examples, but we all know they do happen. God bless them for whatever little piece of attention and love they can get. Will they ever have the more excellent way? Filled to the brim with love, hope, joy.
Now let me jump to the other extreme. “When I hear God’s voice, harden not my heart.” Hebrews 3:15 Why would anyone harden their heart when they hear God’s voice? Why? Wouldn’t that seem to be the ultimate expression of love? Because it is too much love. It’s overwhelming. It brings up too many questions, too many thoughts. Why would God love me? Am I forgivable? Am I lovable? No, I am neither, so I harden my heart and run away. From God’s love. Crazy, but true. Do we also run away from human love, because it too is overwhelming? Because it is undeserved? Because it is beyond my comprehension? I think we do. So, we find love, perhaps attention where we can, when we can. Is this wrong?
Is it wrong for two women to love each other, or two men, or a man changes to be a woman and then loves another non-binary person? I don’t know.
But I do know this, there is a still more excellent way. One of Jesus’s famous answers was, “In the beginning it was not so.” I want to go back to that statement for guidance. To go back to the beginning.
In the beginning God and Adam were in the garden alone. Now it is interesting that most often mystics and holy people are single. Have you noticed that? As if having a relationship with God is something private, something personal. As if being alone with God is enough. Strangely there in the Garden, in Paradise it was not enough. Think about that. I will say it again. Being alone with God in the Garden was not enough.
God saw that man was lonely. Male and female He created them. Just two sexes. Sorry if that offends you, but still there are only X chromosomes and Y chromosomes, nothing else. He made them for each other. Adam awakes and gasps in awe and wonder, shouts for joy, “This is bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh, she is made from me.” And so human love was bound up with God. It takes all three.
The best love, the most wondrous love, the kind of love that scars you, scares you, lifts you up …
For even as love crowns you so shall he
crucify you. Even as he is for your growth
so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and
caresses your tenderest branches that quiver
in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and
shake them in their clinging to the earth.
All these things shall love do unto you
that you may know the secrets of your
heart, and in that knowledge become a
fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only
love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover
your nakedness and pass out of love’s
Into the seasonless world where you
shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.
When you love you should not say,
“God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am
in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course
of love, for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.
Someday perhaps read the whole thing.
I am wondering, actually convinced that the most excellent way to find God, Heaven, Love is a man and a woman together in Holy Matrimony, going through it all. Yes I think, actually quite sure there is someone made just for you. They won’t be perfect. If they were perfect they would not fit you, would they? Their imperfections match yours. But perhaps when you fit the two pieces of the puzzle together, they are perfect. Yes, you can take just about any two pieces and try to cram them together. God knows we all have tried. But they don’t really fit.
Know love can be found, look for it. People do not look for things they think do not exist. They are out there somewhere. Moody Blues, “I know you’re out there somewhere”. Tells the story quite well.
Being scarred, being scared, being horrendously hurt, then being lifted on high, finding that love triumphs over forgiveness. Love goes beyond deserving. Love really doesn’t care about those two things. Love just loves. To know someone will never leave you, loves you hopelessly; gives a concrete example of what it must be like to be loved by God. To run away, yet come back, because I have learned to handle more, to be lifted higher. That someone sees the good in me. Sees the image of the Creator in me, believes in me.
1st Corinthians 13
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 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. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 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. 12 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.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.