Monday, October 29, 2007

He loves me, He loves me not...

I performed a wedding yesterday afternoon. I have done a few weddings in my lifetime but this was my first ever Sunday wedding. I absolutely love to perform weddings, and with me, you never really know what you're going to get. I think that weddings should reflect the character of the couple as well as the consuming joy of the occasion. For this reason, I don't do stiff and formal weddings 'cos I just don't marry stiff and formal people (even if they started out that way, by the time we're through with their pre-marital counseling they've lightened up considerably).

The theme of yesterday's wedding was love. Well isn't that the theme of every wedding you ask? Hold your horses a second and let me explain. You see, the couple is bi-racial. He: Quintessentially Midwestern-white-American from Iowa. She: Classic hot-headed-beauty from Haiti. Now before you begin to pontificate on the demerits of interracial marriages, let me save you the trouble by assuring you that all of those arguments are lost on me. I am irreversibly and irrationally sold out to the cause of the Body of Christ being a reflection of the heart of God. He has every tribe, tongue and nation inscribed upon His heart, and the more integrated we are, the more we resemble the church that looks like heaven. So, off my soapbox and back to my story. The theme was love because that is what motivates and drives this couple. They are under no illusions that they will (yes, even in todays post-modern age) draw stares and comments. They are patently aware of some of the cultural hurdles they will have to jump over. They are even conscious of the fact that their union will cause some doors to slam shut in their faces. But they did it anyway. Love makes you that way. It makes potential stumbling blocks look like stepping stones to greater heights of accomplishment.

Consider the story of Jacob working for his beguiling father-in-law Laban, for seven years so that he could marry the delectable Rachel. Imagine his utter shock and horror when he wakes up the next morning to find one-eyed Leah in bed beside him instead of Rachel. As a result of Laban's deceit Jacob has consumated a marriage with homely and unattractive Leah instead of with his beloved Rachel. What to do? Laban profers a solution: Work for me for another seven years and I will give you Rachel's hand in marriage too. Without a thought for the deceitful way in which his servitude has been contracted, Jacob agrees to this proposal. The Bible says that "...Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her." Do you see it? A stumbling block becomes a stepping stone because of love.

This is why marriage, according to the Scriptures, is the closest thing on earth to the relationship between Christ and the Church. It is motivated purely and solely by love (certainly His love for us). Again you ask, "Aren't all marriages motivated by love?" Apparently not. They should be. But many aren't. That's why the statistics indicate that there is as high of a divorce rate in the church as there is outside of the church today. We say we are motivated by love when we get married, but all too often, we are misinterpreting passion, desire, attraction, companionship and a lot of other good qualities for love. Love is completely selfless! Love desires to give and give and give again. Love takes stock of all the reasons why you shouldn't and then you go ahead and do it anyway (Like dying on a cross for a world that would still reject and ridicule you).

This is the kind of love that was celebrated at yesterdays wedding. It's called Agape. It's a Greek word that translates as "The God kind of love." I for one am thrilled to have a front row seat to watch this couples incredible story play itself out. So what about you? Are you in love? If you're married, are you married for the right reasons? If not, you can begin to make the change today. If you're not married but you're thinking it might be in your future, are you doing it for the right reasons? If you haven't yet, pause and think about that.