Music on Monday

Ed Sheeran – “Perfect”

Such a sweet song, and in it’s own way, so very old-fashioned, but isn’t that sometimes what our hearts long for?

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Music on Monday

The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild – Original Soundtrack, lead composer Manaka Kataoka

This youtube video is a compilation of music from the video game “The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild”. The music itself is stunning, and that so much effort gets put into a video game is amazing.

Love and Love in Return

This post by Fr. Andrew Damick on his “Roads from Emmaus” blog is truly inspired: Love is Not a Two-Way Street. I highly recommend everyone to go and read it. It touches upon not only loving your enemies, but loving those who don’t always love us back, which sometimes can be even harder. However, it makes the progression of that passage in Luke 6 make even more sense – ” But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return”

Now, there’s not much that I can add to what he’s written on the subject, it’s that good. 🙂 However, in one of the comments, there’s a question that kind of intrigues me, and since it hasn’t been ‘answered’ in the months since, I figured that I might take a shot at it. The question is as follows: Other than the love of God, do we need love? If the answer is no, we don’t need to be loved by anyone else, since God loves us, how do we react to a spouse that doesn’t love us? We need to love our spouse. We need to loved by God. We need to love our neighbor. But it seems to me that we don’t need these people to love us in return, since we are loved by God. Needing to be loved by people is an addiction in a way. What say you […]?

I don’t know that we don’t need to be loved by others; on the contrary, we need and long for love from others just to find our place in this world, to have a chance at encountering this world in a healthy and adult manner. We need and crave the love from parents (and children who don’t get it have tons of problems) and from friends and, as we get older, often from ‘romantic’ interests, leading to such relationships such as marriage. The Love of God is always there, but a lot of the reason that we can experience God’s Love is because we have experience of love, imperfect as it may be, in others.

That being said, there are those who will devote themselves to God, and through their spiritual development, can learn to detach themselves from this world, including earthly relationships, and live solely in the Love of God. This, however, is extremely rare, and probably shouldn’t be attempted by 99.9% of the population. For the rest of us, then, these relationships on earth remain extremely important for our overall well-being.

Is it an addiction though? I would argue that it doesn’t have to be. Someone who is living a generally ‘balanced’ life can love and be loved in a very healthy manner. It’s kind of like food – just because one must eat pretty much every day doesn’t mean that one is addicted. It’s when things get ‘unbalanced’, that there’s a problem. Someone who craves food all the time will tend to overeat. Someone who craves ‘love’ – and a lot of times it’s less love than just general attention – will often do really bad things to try to get this attention, be it sleeping around or having an insatiable need to be the center of attention or whatnot. That’s where the danger lies, but at this point, it’s not even love anymore, because there is no such thing as too much love.

Going where God leads us (being faithful on the big things… starting with the little)

One of my favorite Biblical parables is that of the talents, and it is one that was often taught in elementary school. There are two versions, that which is found in Matthew (25:14-30) and the other in Luke (19:12-27). In any case, one question I remember coming up is why the servants were given different amounts. In one sense, it doesn’t really matter; we see that the master has chosen correctly, and those servants who were given more were faithful with what they were given.

The other day, though, I was trying to recall the passage about being faithful in the little things, and I found it in Luke 16:10. Those who are entrusted with big things don’t usually start off in doing the big things; they are entrusted with little things, do what they should, and are rewarded with being entrusted with even bigger things. Those servants who were given larger amounts were, assuredly, servants who previously had been faithful in smaller things.

This touches on things going on in my own life at the moment. I feel as though I am on a journey of faith, and that I have been called to do something of great consequence. I feel as though I need to accept this and follow, performing my role in the story, and God will do His. It’s kind of frightening, for it’s like Peter walking on the water – in faith he can do it, but without, he can’t. But it has also been working to deepen my faith, to trust God more, and to reach out to others who strive toward that same type of faith for support. It’s a big thing, yes, but I feel as though I have been being prepared for a long time toward this with the little things. I pray that I am up for the challenge. I don’t know exactly where this road will go, but I work on trusting God in this matter.

A bit about religious experience

Life has a funny way of getting crazy. For us, these last couple of years have been crazy, filled with both the good and the bad, lots of stress, and an abundance of God’s grace. As a result, I’ve really had very little time to sit down and write, though the thoughts are constantly going through my head.

As a kid who was raised around Protestants, one thing that was constantly emphasized was having an “experience” of God or of Jesus. This, of course, makes sense, because without any sort of Liturgical consistency, without believing that what we partake of in Communion is the true body and blood of Christ, basically the best one can hope for is some sort of religious experience.

For me, this didn’t sit right, though I didn’t understand why. I think part of it comes from the fact that when one “accepts Christ into your heart”, there is supposed to be some sort of feeling of certainty that one does, in fact, “belong to Jesus”. Even from the time I was very little I tried to do the thing that God instructs in the Bible, and I wanted to go to Heaven and be with God when this life ends. But I don’t know when I “accepted Jesus”, because I think I asked for it each time we were invited to in school, and I daresay a good number of other times as well. I don’t want to say it was meaningless, because, of course, it’s not, but I never had the kind of religious experience I figured would accompany the certainty of the enormity of such an action.

Many years later, I became an Orthodox Christian. It was comforting, on many levels, that the idea of religious experience is really downplayed. One doesn’t need a miracle to worship, to pray, to integrate ones’ self into the fabric of the Church. Things ‘otherworldly’ are met with some skepticism, with the realization that we, as mere mortals, can be tricked and confused by many things disguised as ‘religious experience’, and that we ought to be wary of it.

The down side to this is that it seems like many believe that the only people who have genuine ‘religious experiences’ ought to be monks, nuns, and clergy. Therefore, now being an Orthodox Christian, when I do feel like there has been something in my life that one could call ‘religious experience”, it’s hard sometimes even to discuss it. I’m sure that this is the case for some Protestants as well, but I grew up around people who regularly told stories of the inexplicable that they chalked up to God’s working in their lives; God called them to do this, God made something happen, etc. Surely it’s not a bad thing to acknowledge that when we endeavor to follow God, He works wonders in our lives. However, when this is the only thing that people have to try to ascertain whether one is on the right path, it can be a dangerous thing as well.