Wednesday, 29 August 2012

And the greatest of these is love

I've never hidden the fact that my faith is something that is really important to me. I started going to church when I was in my teens when we had to attend church parade once a month in the scouts. Eventually after going a few times I started going every week because one of the scout leaders and one of the other scouts were regulars at the church. I spent the next 4 years going to church every week, went to youth club, joined the choir and even got confirmed.

Just before I started at university there was a problem at one of the local cemeteries which resulted in my grandparent's exhumed and the fact that my Gran's coffin has been smashed in order for my Grandfather's to be put into the grave on top of it. His coffin was only about a foot or so beneath the surface, below both their coffins there was another one. We'd been told it was a new, empty plot but it wasn't. My grandparent's grave wasn't the only one that there were problems with.

Our vicar was also a local councillor and he ended up backing the town council over events which resulted in us stopping going to church.

It took me a long time to start going to church again, in fact it was only after my son was diagnosed with Leukaemia that I went back. However, I've always prayed and talked to God even when I wasn't going to church.

Well this year has proven interesting with regard to church. My faith has wavered big time, I've been struggling with it ever since I decided to transition, but I seem to have turned a corner.

Last Christmas I bought a book on Archangels by Doreen Virtue. I read through it and then a few months ago came across her Archangel and Angel oracle cards.

During the time I wasn't going to church I dabbled with things like Tarot cards, I've always had an interest in the paranormal. As a Christian I know that Tarot cards are not a good idea and I stopped using them a while back. Now the Archangel and Angel cards might be frowned upon by some Christians but they are helping me to rebuild my faith because I'm spending more time recently praying, especially while using them but also at other times to.

Last weekend saw a major mind shift for me though. For a while I've been disappointed with the fact that I was asked to go to a different service to everyone else that I know at church. When I stopped going to that service I found that not many people kept in touch with me to see how I was doing. For most people that wasn't a problem but there were a lot of people that I thought of as friends that didn't take the time to check on me. Last weekend we bumped into some friends from church while in town. We'd been out to various places with my son and I was dressed in jeans, tee-shirt and leather jacket with no make-up and hair pulled back. Its how I dress if I'm out with him and there's a chance that we would meet some of his friends that aren't aware of my transition.

We chatted with our friends for a while and when we came away I said to my other half that I my conversation had felt awkward.

It got me thinking though. I'd already broached the subject of going to the morning services with my son. His response was that he didn't mind. Since I'm planning to start training for the Outlaw in December going to church might have had to be part of my rest/family day instead of the Saturday that I'd planned it to be. The more I thought about things though the more I came to the conclusion that going to the morning service isn't going to happen. When I'm ready to start going back to church, and its probably going to be when my son's Sunday night youth group restarts soon, I'm going to start going back to the Sunday evening services. I was made to feel welcome there, my transitioning didn't seem to worry anyone.

Having made that decision I then thought about starting to read my bible again. The only problem is that although we've got lots of bibles in the house, the two that I used most regularly I gave to my other half and son. Of the rest, well they belong to my old self. If I'm going to start reading a bible again then it had to be one that I've bought for me as I am now.

Yesterday I popped into our local Christian bookshop and started browsing through the bibles. The assistant was really friendly and helpful. We chatted about what I wanted and when I was looking for a daily devotional she made sure to point out that there were several more in front of the till, in addition to where I was looking.

I'd planned on getting a New International Version bible but after looking at several I found myself drawn to one of the New Living Translation bibles. Its a purple-pink colour and has 1 Corinthians 13:13 on the cover.

Which finally brings me to the title of this post.

"Three things will last forever - faith, hope and love - and the greatest of these is love."

When I read 1 Corinthians 13 I always find myself thinking of Nicholas Parsons reading that passage out in the Doctor Who story The Curse of Fenric. Its a great passage in the bible.

This morning I sat down and read it before I got started doing anything else. It was when I got to that line that I finally got an insight which runs contrary to the verse but make sense to me.

As I read it I found myself thinking faith and hope wont last forever, only love will. Once the events of Revelation have taken part and God's Kingdom has come then there wont be a need for faith and hope. We'll know God so why will we need to have faith. The same goes for hope. Love though, well that's different because we'll experience God's love for us first-hand, we'll also have got rid of all the stuff that interferes with us loving ourselves and each other.

So of the three, love is the greatest and it is the one that will endure forever. In this horrible world where people are killing each other, treating each other badly because they want to get ahead of people I'm going to try and practice a bit more love for my fellow man and see where it takes me.


  1. "So of the three, love is the greatest and it is the one that will endure forever." ....I have left the church I grew up in for various reasons but I do have my own faith, and my own understanding of God. I choose to believe that love is God. It's that thought that keeps me from treating others badly and to love unconditionally (most times!). Hugs to you :)

    1. Lucy,
      I think we each end up with our own concept of who and what God is. Regardless of whether we are part of a church or not. Its part of having a relationship with God.