“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal,” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Resounding gongs and clanging cymbals? There seem to be a lot of those going around these days. Love? Not so much if you’re watching television, following the news, or the latest trending political posts on Twitter.
I did not see the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy starring John Travolta and Debra Winger, but I definitely remember the theme song. I had a five year old and a two year old under my feet at the time, and I was very behind on my movie savvy. I watched the Oscars as infrequently then as I do today. Even so, I’ve always thought the lyrics to this movie’s theme song to be an unintentional—but profound—summary of modern life. I can’t recall all the words, but here’s a snippet, “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, lookin’ for love in too many faces, searchin’ their eyes, lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreamin’ of.” (The writer did not have my high school English teacher. She would never have allowed the absent “g” on those words.)
In my humble opinion, the very loud and all-over-the-place world we inhabit does not give us many helpful clues on where to find the real thing. Hollywood is certainly no help. Our celebrity-crazy culture’s heroes don’t offer many glowing examples. And it’s just plain sad. The saddest thing of all is that so many people, created in God’s image, spend their entire lives looking for love in all the wrong places simply because they are following the wrong leader.
It was the 17th Century French philosopher, Blaise Pascal who said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus.” And there you have it. The problem and the only solution.”
If Jesus is who He claimed to be—and I for one believe He is—then when He said (John 10:10) “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” I just have to think “full” includes those things which fill our hearts and souls. There are those moments when we catch a glimpse of “full” in the middle of a regular day—an interaction with someone special, an acute and sudden sense that we would like to freeze time and capture this minute. Even in the mundane duties and responsibilities and the “stuff’ of life, there is always our certain hope and confidence that nothing is meaningless, nothing is wasted. It is Christ who knits the many pieces of our lives together with purpose and love and even peace in the midst of chaos.
I love this issue. We always start with a blueprint and then, as the stories come in and life just happens, I see God’s hand everywhere. It is no longer a surprise, but it is always fresh. The upside to being as old as I am is recognizing how very much He is present in every detail of every day.
Enjoy our feature of The Mississippi Girlchoir. Lillian Lee, whose passion for choral music led her down the entrepreneurial path to begin a local girl choir, has seen her dream flourish beyond all that she ever imagined. Her legacy is strong as this group has received international accolades, and today’s very capable leadership continues her tradition. An example of diversity and success, it is also a great training ground for girls from third grade through twelfth grade!
The theme of February is love, of course, and our contributing writers have outdone themselves. Martin Willoughby’s “4 Tips to Lasting Love” will remind every married couple of the practical, but important, foundation for a healthy marriage. Read about John Williams in our “Salt and Light” section. His love for at-risk boys who are growing up without godly fathers in their homes, resulted in a weekday ministry at Trinity Presbyterian Church where 100 elementary boys are mentored, played with, and are shown the love of Christ every afternoon.
And this is just a taste of what lies between these pages. As always, this issue was put together with love. It is our sincere hope that you find encouragement and something that brings you closer to the One who loves you most—Jesus.