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Previously I have referred to Celine Dion’s music, especially concentrating on the lyrics, or a part of the lyrics.  Such is the case with “She may be unaware”, “God or Baby, or Both – Celine sings for us” (both listed in the Music Related Category)

In this post, I return to Celine’s music, focusing on her rendition of “Nature Boy.”  It is a hauntingly beautiful piece.  As you listen (click here – www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaF_cLXKTW8),  you can follow along with the lyrics:

There was a boy… a very strange enchanted boy.
They say he wandered very far, very far over land and sea.
A little shy and sad of eye but very wise was he.

And then one day, one magic day he passed my way.
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings,
This he said to me, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.”

And then one day, one magic day he passed my way.
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings,
This he said to me, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.”

Not knowing the composer, I am not certain about the final expression, The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. It does, however, seem to me that “nature boy” is laying out a simple recipe for living well – love and be loved.  Again, as in other posts, we have the case of a song being both a statement in and of itself, as well as a pointer to something even beyond. . .

Does it make sense to think that the opposite of love (hate) is the key to good living?  No.  Who could affirm, without experiencing cognitive dissonance, that there is a higher morality than one built on, or that flows out of  love?  No one.

There is a reason Christianity, in spite of all the failings of its adherents (individually and corporately), is known as a religion of love.  It is true that the John 3.16 verse (God so loved the world . . . ) frequently seen at football games, is mocked by those who think it is out of place, is naïve, or is simply not true.   Nonetheless, the primary written source for Christianity is replete with its citations of the preeminence of love among the virtues.  For example, and these are just a very few . .

— Now abides faith, hope, and love.  The greatest of these is love. (the apostle Paul)

— ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  (Jesus)

— Let us love in deed and truth with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (the apostle John)

— There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear (the apostle John)

— A friend loves at all times. (Solomon)

— Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (Jesus)

Just because our source book lauds the virtue of love, it doesn’t guarantee that all who categorize themselves as Christians are paragons of love.  Likewise, it would be foolish to pretend that only Christians know what love is.  For centuries, human experience has corroborated the place of love among the virtues.  And this brings me back to Celine’s music.  It is “nature boy” who says that “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

There is the pointer – that we look for, and long for, the scenario when loving and being loved is natural. To the degree that love becomes the natural modus operandi, life on this planet will be more satisfying, more harmonious, less stressful, more productive, more caring, more honesty.   And when we fall short of perfect love, there is forgiveness, and there is finally heaven.

Keep singing, Celine.  .