Two things I am coming to believe in this season of pain and rebirth.
1) The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
It wasn't Moulin Rouge that coined those famous words, but songwriter and hippie idealistic practitioner, eden ahbez, in his song, Nature Boy, performed by Nat "King" Cole.
There was a boy
A very strange enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea
A little shy
And sad of eye
But very wise was he
And then one day
A magic day he passed my way
And while we spoke of many things
Fools and kings
Then he said to me
"The greatest thing
You'll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved in return"
Jesus says that life is all about community. Loving God, loving people, living in intimate unity, utterly dependent on God through Christ. I can't think of any other reason for living that doesn't leave any loose ends or unsatisfied desires in my heart. Enjoying and expressing mutual love with God, his people, and his creation is what I want more than anything else.
... And I can't have it now. That's the other thing.
2) I will never fully know that kind of community this side of glory.
There is too much independence competing with the Spirit of shalom. Too much shared ground with self-centered realities. Too much distance and disconnection in our relationship with God. Too many distractions. Even in the best kingdom community experience available on this earth (for which I long with tears), I believe we will still feel the lack of and longing for a community that is fully surrendered to and loving God while fully loving each other. As an alien and stranger surrounded in a world, a nation, a culture that is fiercely devoted to independence and the worship of self, I suspect I will always feel lonely and disconnected... even as I rejoice for the Christ I do experience, both alone with him and in community.
So here I am, seeking first the kingdom of God on earth, a reconnected kingdom community in which we love and are loved, while simultaneously realizing I will never fully find it until Christ sums up all things. We are "looking for a city with foundations whose architect and builder is God . . . longing for a better country, a heavenly one" (Hebrews 11:10, 16).