I made the silly mistake of volunteering to sing a song this coming Sunday, as part of our tribute to the congregation in observance of Valentines’ Day the next day.
Two songs were in my mind – The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me by Steve Lawrence, or I’ll Always Love You by Michael Johnson. The latter was sort of a song – I don’t know, for the ones that got away, and sort of also for the ones I got away from. Like Bongbong Marcos, this song is a little over halfway to getting my nod of approval.
Mama Josie mentioned the older song was Tito Gil’s song for her while he was still alive, and she wasn’t surprised to know this was my own Dad’s song to Mom as well. In her words, ‘yan yung uso noong panahon (that (song) was ‘in’ at the time). I’ll probably be mentioning the older song as part of my message on Sunday as a tribute to them and everyone else from that set of generations. I couldn’t memorize the lyrics of the song, nor do I have a grasp on the timing, tempo, and tune. If I am forced to sing, at least I’ll Always Love You is very familiar to me, at worst.
So, first I tried looking at today’s Psalm to see if it would provide any value for me as I started ruminating over my exact message. It was nice, only it didn’t really fit what I was going for: The Psalmist was writing about how the wicked and cruel were prospering, and in the end, as we’ll usually see in most Psalms, he proclaims the goodness of God, as if to provide an exclamation point for those reading to be on the right direction before moving on.
Then, finding things fruitless there, I went straight for the lyrics of The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me, and I found the chorus most uplifting:
If anyone should ever write my life story
For whatever reason there might be
You’d be there between each line of pain and glory
‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me
You’re the best thing that ever happened to me
From this I am reminded of two more contemporary worship songs, whose lyrics go as follows: ‘With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God,’ and ‘I could sing of Your love forever’.
Building on what we have so far, we could say that we are overwhelmed day by day by God’s practical love, because it endures forever. We are also overwhelmed, because God’s love truly is the best thing that ever happened to us.
Just a thought: Can it be said the other way around? Can we ever be the best thing that ever happened to Jesus? I only ask because I’m thinking, can anything ‘happen’ to Jesus, who is beyond time and knows everything? Or could it be that this Creator, with no beginning and end, proclaimed our beginning, not by way of working towards the genesis of our physical existence, but merely having a thought of us, even before the foundations of the world?
I’m reminded of what we kept saying at the beginning of last year and this year: That you can’t talk about love without talking about God, you can’t talk about God without talking about love, and you can’t talk about God’s love without talking about Jesus Christ. Now, since we established last Sunday, through Psalm 136, that no matter how we, as the lead priests of our own stories, may not always have the right (or any) lyrics to sing, it is the Holy Spirit that continually sings the refrain: “His love endures forever”. And since there is no mention of God’s love without Jesus Christ, we can also say that Christ Himself endures forever.
So, indeed, we could sing of Christ, forever. With each and every day in our own lives being unique as they are, we will always have a reason to sing of Christ’s love and how it shone for us that day. And as to singing of the goodness of God, well, even when we do run out of breath, it’s the Holy Spirit that sings of the goodness of God – which is not without His love, and therefore not without Christ – now and forever.
Had we went on as a species without the love of God, we would have struggled and eventually fell under the strain of the worst that could ever happen to any of us – sin and death. But, in His perfect timing, God’s love manifested by way of Jesus Christ who was born as one of us. By His death, we have been relieved of the worst, and by His resurrection, we have been given faith, hope and love, in the form of true life, everlasting life.
It’s because of this that we say that Christ is the best that ever happened to us – to those who actually interacted with Him during His time here in this reality, up to all of us who live and breathe at the present – What a wonderful gift which was simultaneously the best for all times and tribes, once and for all.
As you can tell, our going through that song is going far deeper than I could probably try going with the Michael Johnson song.
Or hell, since I’m playing catch-up here, I might as well wring my brain out for this one too.
Off the bat, the lyrics that impact me are from the pre-chorus like bridge, which goes as follows:
Time like a river keeps on flowing right on by
Nothing left for me to do, so I watch the river rise
At the age I’m in I’m feeling exactly how I tweeted and pinned just recently: That nowadays my proposals aren’t going down the lines of ‘Will you marry me’ more than ‘Bear my child’ (which I failed to mention may be in Dwight Schrute’s tone of voice and demeanor). I’ll provide the butterflies in the stomach if need be, but until such a time comes, I’m building myself up however I can to support whoever I will.
It’s probably a thought that passed by once or twice while I was sick last week, without the privilege of choosing what to think of. It’s definitely a nod to what I’m thinking right now, regarding working on the ‘power’ of my blood in terms of purity and potency. Somewhere along the way I thought, if I have good blood, then I will have good semen. Hah.
Yeah, so all this and more being done on myself while I work towards the relief of pain and the increase in comfort – first, to my mother and cousin under my charge in my household, then to my team and congregation, and then to the rest of the world. Well, at least that’s the default priority, which can shift based on the times.
All this is building is done, and it isn’t a dam I’m building to stop the river. Probably more like a hydroelectric/solar power plant to aid in mining crypto while I stay off grid in terms of necessities and services, yet maintaining a good connection to broadcast anything and everything that needs to be shared.
Nothing left for me to do, so I watch the river rise from my mothership of a sanctuary.
You know what, I’m sorry, I’m rambling, and I’m pretty sure there is something to draw out of all of this – maybe right here and now, or maybe in the words to come.
Or maybe I should put what I’ve drawn out of both songs so far, together.
With one, I understand that Christ is the best thing that ever happened to us.
With the other, I recognize my position in time, but I will not stop its flow, but enjoy it as it rises like a river.
And now that I think about it, I could easily go bonkers and binge on the fear of missing out, placing pressure on how I don’t want to be the ‘old guy in the club’ as Chris Rock pointed out, and as I laughed at freely 20 years ago.
But again, it is important and the mature thing to do, the most peaceful thing to do to accept – no – embrace reality here and now for the good and bad it is, knowing that no matter what has/is/will happen, Christ is the best thing that ever happened to me.
Christ is the everlasting love of God which overflows in and through my entire being, a mighty river infinitely superior to the trickle of time. Christ Himself is the living and therefore infinite love of God, absolutely superior to the finite thoughts in and around my perception.
We come full circle to what I wanted to talk about this coming Sunday; I am reminded, indeed, that God’s love does not just endure forever, but it is not in competition with anything… and if there’s a Psalm I need to be hunting for, if there’s a passage I need to find – it’s what proclaims the infinite and eternal superiority of God’s love over anything and everything we perceive and propose.
The verses that have come into mind so far have ranged from the verses which mention how God is the owner of the cattle over so many hills (I totally butchered that, no pun intended)…
Listening to Andrew Farley right now, and I’m picking up stuff like, ‘All of Him and all of me in a beautiful union.’
Regarding living from a pure heart, he quotes Paul as saying in 1 Timothy 1:5, ‘the purpose of (his) instruction is love from a pure heart’. Know (1) that you have a pure heart, (2) Christ lives in your heart, and (3) He has poured His love into your heart.
He goes on to quote 2 Corinthians 9:7, pointing out how we ought to give ‘according to what they have decided from their heart’. Apparently with giving, God trusts our heart because we give and we ought to live and forgive from our heart.
To live in grace is to understand that it is not more of Him and less of me as John the Baptist would say, but instead we would do well to heed Hebrews 13:9 – ‘it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace’. It’s grace and the heart that grow together, loving from a pure heart, where there is indeed, no competition with God.
Dr. Farley brings it home with Romans 6:17 – ‘(we) used to be slaves to sin, now (we) have been made obedient from the heart.’ If we obey, it’ll come from the heart. Grace is obedience. It’s the grace of God that teaches us to say no to sin, it’s the grace of God that instructs us to live uprightly. It all comes from a new heart which has been made obedient.
So what was discussed was more of God’s love not being in competition with ourselves, especially now that we have been made new creations with new hearts. I suppose it’s just fitting to stay within the confines of our being new creations, reason being our being is pretty much the extent of what we control in this world.
So what I’m thinking now is if I’m to be building on the premise of Christ not being in competition, it may require me approaching it from the other side of the coin – That is, that Christ is in harmony with our being – He made all of it new. We are new creations, with new hearts, and all this under our control with Christ Lord over it all, no matter how we understand it or run away from it.
Indeed, our entire being is delegated into so many different categories, aspects, and perspectives, and I guess this is where Colossians 1:17, which I was supposed to quote last week, comes into play: For in Christ all aspects of my new being were born, and in Christ all of it is held together. Not only is my entire being contained in Christ, but He holds it all together.
It just naturally follows that we proclaim, yes, that in Christ we live, in Christ we move, and in Christ we have our being.
This is all so interesting. We’ve started from a song or two for Valentines, and somehow we’ve ended up probably going somewhere this coming Sunday, which was where I intended to go last Sunday.
Still, I think there’s something in the Bible that can tie all this together, and I intend to find it in the coming days, as we approach the weekend.
More, so much more to come.