heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
- Psalm 19:1-6
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 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. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
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.
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
“The Russians, I am told, report that they have not found God in outer space. On the other hand, a good many people in many different times and countries claim to have found God, or been found by God, here on earth.”
- C. S. Lewis, ‘The Seeing Eye’
Those who follow my blog may know that I sometimes get to my point through the back door. Never fear, there is a way of tying these quotes, and the post title, together.
This post was almost destined to be a non-post or something without much soul in it. I sat in the recliner yesterday trying to clear my sinuses, second sinus attack of the winter when I usually have a one and done winter. My wife came by and asked about lunch and “What is up in the blogworld?”
I confessed that I had nothing in my head to write about for tomorrow, the day this post was due. (I had plenty, but nothing said, ‘Pick me!’)
My wife said that it was Valentine’s Day. Everybody loves a story of love. Go with that.
Having my wife tell me what to write when I have not been inspired to write it might not work out too well – great for marital relations, but maybe not so great of a post. As a last-ditch effort to avoid her suggestion, I picked up the C. S. Lewis devotion book entitled, “The Business of Heaven.” The devotion for Valentine’s Day was about not finding God in outer space, an excerpt from the essay ‘The Seeing Eye.’ I love his argument that follows this quote. This essay may be revisited.
Of course, when I read that the Russians had looked all over outer space and had not found God, my first thought was that they were “Wookin’ Pa Nub in all the wong places.” My mind usually goes to something related to comedy. This comes from a Saturday Night Live fake television commercial featuring Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat (of the original Our Gang fame), or as the commercial spells it, Buh-Weet. Here is a link.
In all fairness to Buckwheat, I called my sister, a retired speech therapist. I asked her what was Buckwheat’s deal? I wanted to be sympathetic in this situation. She said that he did have a problem, but as she hedged, I suggested a response that she would agree with. “I cannot provide a definitive answer until there has been a thorough clinical review of Mr. Buckwheat.”
Of course, this snippet from the fake commercial is just part of the chorus of the song, Lookin’ for Love.
I was lookin’ for love
in all the wrong places,
Lookin’ for love in too many faces,
searchin’ their eyes and lookin’ for traces
of what I’m dreamin’ of.
- Bob Morrison / Patti Ryan / Wanda Mallette, Lookin’ for Love
I could have read the C. S. Lewis excerpt and followed a different line of logic to Psalm 19. Finding God in outer space is easy for we see His handiwork everywhere we look. Of course, they probably did not have a telescope handy to see the Helix nebula (NGC 7293), in the featured photo, and see the “Eye of God” looking back at them. The Russians could not find God, because God was hiding in plain sight, all around them.
Isn’t that why we cannot find God and we cannot find Love? We are blinded by God’s presence everywhere we look. We can find God microscopically. We can find God in a telescope, searching outer space. And we can find God as we go through our lives, in the people we meet and in the things that we see. God can be seen everywhere, as long as we have the heart to see Him. Without Jesus in our heart and the Holy Spirit imbued within us, we just see stuff. We might study the science of how that stuff got there, but God created the science. In looking at the science with no thought of the Creator, we’d be “wookin’ pa nub in all the wong places.”
And when we literally look for love, where do we find it? Where did you look yesterday? Some seek it in romance, some in sex, some in gift-giving. Some took their ‘valentine’ out for dinner and maybe a movie. Some had a quiet dinner at home.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Lewis goes on to say that the only place safe from Love is Hell.
My wife and I had a dinner that she purchased for the occasion, at least the fixings were delivered to our door in a Styrofoam case packed in dry ice (oddly when the temperature was below zero – a couple of weeks ago). I wrote a poem that must have not been too sappy. She asked me where I had found it on the internet. My response was “Who, other than us, has a first-time meeting of playing mixed doubles tennis?” She calls me her ‘Hugga Bear.’ So, my valentine’s card from her had two bears, hugging, on the outside – perfect.
But who among us looked toward God for love? Who among us read 1 Corinthians 13 for Valentine’s Day (other than me as I wrote this post and my wife who reviewed it)? Who among us looked for love in the Right Place?
I found love and a bit of God’s goodness in an old SNL fake television commercial. Don’t worry, finding God in everything might be a little harder considering the other song in the commercial. “Unce, Tice, Fee Tines a Mady…” That one may take a lot of prayer time.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.