Faith, Hope, and Charity

All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allen Poe

I came across this quote twice tonight. It struck me, this is the creed of many in the present generation. I have been reading of late about the area in and around Bridgend, south Wales, where 13 young people have committed suicide in the past year. Then there is the death of Heath Ledger, the self destruction of Britney Spears and the long list of other celebs in de-tox and therapy. What is it the world is so desperately looking for? What is this generation seeking, in every pleasure they can turn their hand to, and not finding?

What is it that the lure of drugs and alcohol promises escape to, yet cannot sustain over time? Each return trip leaves one successively emptier than before, and a vicious cycle ensues. What is it that the thirteen in Wales and many, many others were looking for so desperately this past year? What is the elusive Holy Grail for which people so futilely seek after? What is it that their worldview is not providing them?

Another young man went searching for the answers this generation longs for, and in much the same way this generation is looking. He said:

Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.

Indeed, we see them grasping at the wind and toiling for what cannot be retained. In short they are searching for the three fair queens of Tennyson’s, “The Coming of Arthur,” Faith, Hope and Charity.

Along the way it is the latter that is sought for first. We see the cry for love, any love, in any form. In the frantic search for love we have turned to a surrogate and have sex in lieu of love. The desire and the hunger for love creates physical pain that we try to satiate through intake of great quantities of physical pleasures. Yet, there is no love in the morning and we are left with less than the night before. (or even the moment before) And still the search continues and the temporary joining of one to the other only enlarges the void and makes the search more urgent. Listen to what is said of Charity, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; Charity envieth not; Charity vaunteth not herself, is not puffed up; doth not behave herself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth.”

Without the first sister, Charity, the second is unknown, making the quest a greater burden still. Without Hope all you have is futility. Vanity and Futility are the twin antagonists that lurk in the shadows, and openly work their frustrations when not in the presence of Hope and Charity. I can, without reserve, state that if your worldview does not provide you with the bona-fide articles of Hope and Charity then it lacks what it takes to provide you with LIFE. I know of only one worldview that can provide such Love and such Hope, and that is found in the person of  and relationship with one man: Jesus Christ.

The saddest commentary yet is, that His Love, which is so great, has not been seen in the words and deeds of those who call Him Lord.

We have hidden that love away inside the four walls of our spiritual bunkers and the world, that is in dire need to see and experience the Love of Christ that we say is shed abroad in our hearts, can no longer see His Love in and through us. (I speak with very broad strokes of indictment.) We, Christians, have the Love that this generation is looking for and we are hiding it behind religion and acting as if we are authorized to judge who is worthy to receive that Love. May God have mercy on us for our foolish pride and judgmental attitudes. May I be the first to humble myself and show His Love to someone who is in desperate need of these three queens.