Part of the Advent reading from Phillipians this week (Phil 1-11) is verse 10, of which a portion says “so that you approve what is excellent.” And of course, child of 80s and 90s as I am, I immediately thought of that wonderful benediction from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: “Be excellent to each other!”
What does excellent mean in this context? How do we see it, much less approve of it? Paul wishes that our love would “abound more and more” which gives us a clue that the giving and receiving of love, a love which grows and grows and nearly leaps to connect with people helps us see excellence better. Excellence, then, is not merely a solitary concept, but something that happens in relationship to something else. A single thing is not excellent until it is communicated or interacted with in love.
So, yes, a flat tire can be excellent- when you help someone fix it. A broken relationship is excellent- when time is given between people to heal and grow again. A book is excellent- when the reader really connects with the story, and joins the author on his/her adventure. Food is excellent- when it is used to feed the hungry. And waiting is excellent, when we share our anticipation of the coming of Emmanuel. And all of this done with love. When we are excellent to each other.