In the beginning God created marriage. Marriage is an exclusive (one man/one woman), interdependent (husband needs wife/wife needs husband), mysterious (two in one) relationship. And everything that true about marriage is true about the church–because in the beginning God created community. It’s good to married. It’s good to be single. But it’s not good for anyone to be alone. And with church, no one is.
*66 words this week.
A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes. Proverbs 17:17
Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
from Emma Liddle
I have been married to a wonderful man for almost 9 years now, and I know I am very fortunate in this: he is thoughtful, kind, loving, takes good care of me, makes me laugh, kicks other guys’ butts at Mario Kart, and takes the dog out when it’s too cold and late at night and I really don’t want to do it.
So as a married woman, I definitely thought about him during Weston’s sermon yesterday, and how awesome he is as far as this stuff goes, and how God has provided so well for me in this case, saved me from a lot of grief, enriched my life, etc.; but something else occurred to me, too:
I also thought about the way my father also showed me how a husband should serve and take care of his family and how my dad’s role as head of the house was most fully embodied in the way he served the family.
I come from a family of 6 kids, and my mom (who is also awesome and also a great example of servant hood) stayed home with us. My mom, though, does not like cooking. At all. So even after working a long shift at work (and he often worked night shifts), my dad was the one who usually made dinner for his family. As a kid I didn’t fully appreciate this (and was often the one who refused to eat the tuna casserole), but he didn’t have to do this. He did it, for my mom and for his children.
My dad was also the one who was willing to play barbies with his daughters, give baths and comb tangles out of hair, carved pumpkins for Halloween, made our lunches before school and drew pictures on the brown bags, read us bedtime stories, and played songs on his guitar and sang for us.
A lot of this was to give my mom a break. A lot of this was because he liked doing it. A lot of this was because he loves his family.
And don’t get me wrong: my dad is not really a hippie-type granola dad. All of us kids agreed: if we were going to be punished by one of our parents, we preferred Mom. My dad was the one who had the sternest authority. He was the one who was “the boss” so to speak. We knew he was in charge, what he said was what went, and it was the bottom line.
But at the same time, he had a servant’s heart, the kind of attitude that made it clear that he knew what his place was as the head of the family meant that he would lay down his life for them, serve them, and take care of them.
My dad is a musician; he wanted to be a music teacher, but having 4 little girls under the age of 4 made this a little too difficult for him and my mom. They were too busy, and my mom needed his help at home. But when we got older, he wanted his kids to have the chances he didn’t, and sold his Rickenbacker bass to buy my sister her first clarinet; she is now a classical musician. My dad only got an instrument to play again for himself when I was in high school, which means he went without for ten years.
Because my dad knew what it meant to be the head of the house, the head of his wife and his kids: it means to be like Jesus, which means to lay down his life for the ones he loves, to sacrifice for them.
I think a lot of us could look to our parents and see how their legacies for us in our lives affected our decisions as adults, whether they modeled Christ’s love for the church or not. Sometimes when we get married, we have to make a conscious decision to *not* behave the way our parents did. I am thankful the examples and effects I see in my life are positive. Jeff is not exactly like my father in every sense, but he has a servant’s heart in our marriage, and that was something I knew should be an essential quality in the man I was going to marry, even when I was in my early twenties.
But one thing that is for certain is the way a husband sees and lives out his role in his home is not only for his own marriage; ultimately, this ends up becoming a legacy for his children’s marriages, too.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
We all have a big problem, it would seem.
It would seem we are mistaken about something we think we know pretty well, or at least, something we have a lot of songs about, businesses centered around, movie genres based upon, books written about (novels and non-fiction), something we’re all worried about or want. And we’re a bit confused about what kind of work it is. It’s a four-letter word, and some might say it’s a dirty and/or bad word, but it’s often described as a noun, a thing.
We’re pretty confused about love.
On Sunday, our guest preacher Kevin Flannery went into a bunch of different ways we mess up in love, in romantic relationships, marriages, and in platonic relationships, too. And one of the ways we get love wrong, he pointed out, is that we think love is about us and how we feel:
“What am I getting out of this?”
“Maybe if I had married/made friends with the right person, this would be better.”
“Am I happy?”
“Love is supposed to fix my problems!”
“Our love has died.”
Stuff like that.
But to quote the great 90’s Christian rock trio DC Talk, love is a verb. And this kind of description breaks down all these statements, which assume that love is a noun. And the tricky thing about using love as a noun means that it becomes about ME. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this, unless this is the only way we understand love. We need to be loved, sure, and at some level love is about us, too. But it shouldn’t only be about us.
When we get don’t “feel” love anymore and use that as the reason to make an exit in that relationship, that means we haven’t really gotten what love is about.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul uses love as a noun (oh dear, what would DC Talk say about that?) but he also personifies it, explaining what love does, not what it is; love takes action. Loves does stuff. And notice that love doesn’t receive anything in these verses. That isn’t the main point of love.
It’s funny how we can get some truths from the strangest places: last semester I showed the film Adaptation to my English Comp classes, and there was one conversation between the main character Charlie and his brother Donald that really stuck out to me:
Charlie: There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh.
Donald: Oh, God. I was so in love with her.
Charlie: I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was being really sweet to you.
Donald: I remember that.
Charlie: Then, when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti… You didn’t know at all. You seemed so happy.
Donald: I knew. I heard them.
Charlie: How come you looked so happy?
Donald: I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn’t have the right to take it away. I can love whoever I want.
Charlie: But she thought you were pathetic.
Donald: That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That’s what I decided a long time ago.
Granted, it would seem that Donald’s definition of love is pretty selfish here, where he claims ownership of it. And yet, when you really break it down, this view of love, of owning it rather than owning the way love affects other people and can be used as a tool for getting what you want, maybe his approach to love is the less selfish way of going about it.
Because thinking: “you are what you love, not what loves you,” changes the dynamic. And as followers of Christ, when we love people purely, we become like him, we become like God, because God is love.
I think John puts it even better:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:7-8
From Nick Santostefano:
Happy New Year!
Hello, Beautiful Church!
The First Wednesday Night of Prayer and Worship is a time for us (and guests) to enter in to worship in a more quiet, contemplative time of extended prayer and music. It is a great opportunity to center ourselves around Christ and pour out our hearts. These nights are much quieter than a typical Sunday service with longer moments of purely instrumental worship to allow for group prayer, silent prayer or prophetic words.
Come for all or part of the night. Let’s start off 2014 gathering together in worship and prayer!