How to Light Up the Sky (Stephen Haughland)

“And still, after all this time, the Sun never says to the earth ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” (Hafez)

What a great quote! And what an interesting, and subtle, way to say what most of us already know, but have horrendous difficulty believing: Love is timeless. Love exists for the sake of giving. Love knows no restrictions and no exceptions.

Love like that lights the whole sky….!

Hearing such words always reminds me of that other person – a man who also came to know the true meaning of that little, one-syllable word. Only four letters. Two consonants and two vowels – one of which is silent, and yet a word so powerful…..

…and  he too, could do naught but speak from his own experience at having received a gift that, like the sun that shines in the sky, he did not deserve, could not control and could not earn, but could only bask in and pass on to others!

Some have called this man “The Apostle of the Heart Set Free,” and surely there is no description of St. Paul truer than that.  What we often forget, however, is that this was the same man who fought tooth and nail against such love – even to the point of trying to destroy and subvert its presence. Who could imagine that he would be the same man who would eventually surrender to its power, and then go on to pen the majority of our New Testament – itself the greatest tribute to love ever written!

Today I cannot claim to be a St. Paul. I only know that surrendering to that power which “lights the whole sky” is, for me, the only option bringing the freedom of which Paul wrote and spoke. Every day, I pray that my poor imitation of its power may be acceptable to the Lord and to the people whom I am called to serve, and every day I ask God to help me “surrender” – a bit more than I did yesterday, but not as much as I might tomorrow…..

“If I should speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I would be only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I could understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and even if I had a faith that could move mountains, but did not have love, I would be nothing. And if I gave away all that I had, and offered my body in sacrifice, but did it not from love, I would gain nothing.”

“Love is patient, and kind. Love does not boast. Love is neither rude, nor proud, nor self-seeking. Love keeps no record of wrongs, harbours no resentments, rejoices not in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Love hopes all things, believes all things, bears all things. Love never ends.”

Look, indeed, at what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky!

Tomorrow, when it comes, will still find my efforts to embrace and understand what can only be embraced and understood in each moment still falling short. However, I will continue to take to heart that timeless power, devoid of restrictions and exceptions, which will always cause the universe, and my world, to unfold as it should:

In due season!

Where all things work for good for all those whom God loves!

For today, I will live secure in the knowledge that neither life, nor God, nor anyone else owes me anything…..and I am simply here to embrace, receive, enjoy, celebrate, marvel at, learn from, be convinced of and convicted by, sing to, and to pass on to others that gift at once so simple, and yet so enduring….

“Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky!”

Rev. Steve (Westminster Presbyterian Church, Chauvin, Alberta