Glimpses of Something Better
Reading Passage of The Day: 1 John 4:7-12
I recently had the privilege of accompanying my son on one of his field trips to the nursing home. This year, each student in his class was paired with an elderly person or couple that they have had the opportunity to write letters back and forth with, as well as meet in person a handful of times. My son has been very excited about this, learning as much as he can from his beloved couple, affectionately known as Les and Gerry, as he builds a warm friendship with them. It is a unique way for the students to create relationship with someone outside their usual circle of family and friends, a way to practice taking the time to hand write letters, to ask questions to expand beyond their own limited worlds, and more importantly to pour into, love, and serve the often times forgotten or put away age group in today's society.
My son has been eager to be a light and blessing to his assigned couple, practicing respectful and kind manners, patience in listening to stories and experiences that Les and Gerry have to offer, and put forth in earnest, his innocent youth to lift their spirits and share joy with them. He desires to share the love of Christ with this dear couple.
It seems at first glance perhaps my son is doing the investing, the offering of goodwill, spending his time hand crafting letters in his bumpy misspelled heartfelt words. He waits as Les slowly paints a picture of his time serving in World War II, marrying the love of his life, not getting to meet their first child until he was a year old. He smiles with delight as Gerry shares a bit of information about her years as an artist and a mother, and yet, does he recognize the gift he has been given? To be welcomed with warmth and grace, to be given wisdom and words of life from this honored, seasoned, sweet elderly couple?
It is not that Ben is there to be merely a blessing and feel proud of himself that he is serving the least of these. Hardly. What may have started out as motivation for him to do what God has asked us to do, to love others as Christ has called us, transforms into the reality that when we love like Christ as Ben is doing, we get to experience God Himself.
We get the privilege of seeing God at work when we love as He has called us to. It is a privilege for Ben to get to love them. Ben, yes, is in a way, is being the hands and feet of Jesus, but in so doing that, he gets to see the face of God.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
It was hard not to be reminded of this truth, observing Ben from the sidelines as he interacted with Les and Gerry. I watched as Benjamin lavished love and was lavished with love and sweet attention by this dear couple. I witnessed God's love in such a pure and beautiful way. It only pointed me more to who God is.
This gives me hope. I understand as long as we are here on earth, we can never witness this supernatural Christ love in its perfected form. Because of the darkness and sadness of sin, we can never fully be satisfied while we walk this earth. Love here is marred and obstructed with rejection, agony, desperation, struggle, and disappointment. We cannot fully reflect God the way we were created to and others will fail in reflecting God to us.
But God is so good and gracious, full of loving kindness. He gives us glimpses of something better. He points to who He is. We long for the day we get to see Him face to face. He points us to Himself when love is shown and He is reflected through the human love of another, even the sweet love of a 9 year old boy and a 92 year old WWII veteran.
I think the lines of the sweeping story of Les Mis sums it so well:
take my hand
and lead me to salvation
take my love for love is everlasting
the truth that once was spoken
to love another person is
to see the face
- Jean Val Jean, Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
So, this advent season, if you see more of who our God is because of the love you see in another person, let us praise Him for that gift. We can rest knowing there is indeed One, who loves perfectly. He is the One who will make all things right. He is the only One who’s love can fill us completely and wholly. And when we find that? We can and get to pour out His overwhelming, never ending, astonishing love on others.
truly he taught us
to love one another
his law is love
and his gospel is peace.
- O Holy Night, Placide Chapeau de Roquemaure