Continuities – Walt Whitman:
Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,
No birth, identity, form–no object of the world.
Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;
Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain.
Ample are time and space–ample the fields of Nature.
The body, sluggish, aged, cold–the embers left from earlier fires,
The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again;
The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual;
To frozen clods ever the spring’s invisible law returns,
With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn.
We are akin to hurt, to pain. Our bodies are fragile, the body often sluggish, cold, and our minds can become disturbed by ill thoughts of loss, of anguish, of fear from what may go from us and hurt us or another. The question is often asked: why does God allow us to feel this pain? Maybe we need to be vulnerable human beings so that we learn to be caring. God’s Spirit and the Spirit of those we love (of our angelos as +Robert preached last summer, our messengers, our angels) lie inside us and this is something which never leaves or hurts us. The Spirit is something of love and comfort which remains always.
Ample are time and space – we have time both in this earth and in heaven to rejoice in the love that God gives us. And in the love which we give and share with one another. The greatest gift God gives us is Love. And one of the chapters in the Bible that speaks of this so exquisitely is that of 1 Corinthians 13 (NRSV):
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my posessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part and we prophesy only in part, but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost. Walt Whitman’s words never cease to speak to me. And neither do the words of 1 Corinthians 13, in which every verse speaks a thousand. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Kahil Gibran in his poetry spoke of the love between a married couple, and described that love as a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Ahhhh. Married or not we can all relate to that. And not necessarily with just one human being, but with several as those close connections form, and of course that bond comes with God too.
Love is eternal. Love, is God’s greatest gift. And it is always there. God’s Spirit and the Spirit of those we love lie inside us and this is something which never leaves or hurts us. The Spirit is something of love and comfort which remains always.