DayBreaks for 12/02/14 – Love and Death
Over the weekend I had the honor and privilege to officiate at a wedding. It wasn’t just any wedding, though, it was the wedding of one of my cousins. We have been very good friends from the time we were little boys – playing together at family get-togethers back in Iowa. One summer, the summer of ’66, I spent the entire summer on their farm (we’d moved to California by then) helping with the “farm work”. We did work hard: taking care of the livestock, baling hay, walking beans, cultivating the corn and lots of other things, too, but most of all, we just had a whale of a lot of fun! I was just entering my freshman year in high school and he was old enough that he had his driver’s license, so in the night times when the work was done, we were almost always gone somewhere goofing off. We paid for it the next morning when his dad would holler up the stairs at 5 a.m.: “Time to get up, boys!”
This is not the first wedding for my cousin. He was made a widower a few years ago when his first wife died of cancer. It was heartbreaking and he loved her dearly. But life often deals us hands we’d rather not play and he was forced to play the widower card.
As I stood there before him and his new bride, reminding them that their vows are “until death do you part”, I was overwhelmed with the strength of love. My cousin, as I mentioned, is older than I. We are both possessed of “tickers” that have had some major plumbing redone by a heart surgeon in order to keep us alive to this point. While we both are doing well (as far as we know), we are getting of the age that no one knows how long we will live. Yet, his lovely new bride was willing to stand before him, and he before her, and promise to love each other until death comes knocking on the door.
But I don’t want this to be maudlin, for my thoughts were about triumphant love and not death. When two older people marry, they know that they won’t have the golden anniversary together. Chances are good that they won’t have a silver anniversary. But they are still willing to make those promises and readily accept the risk of going through the death of another spouse rather than remain alone.
Why? I suspect Solomon answered it when he wrote: Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. – Song of Solomon 8:6 I think, perhaps, Solomon understated it a bit: I think love is stronger than death and we are so jealous of love that we are willing to risk losing one to death in order to know love in all its wonder and majesty – however fleetingly. That’s why people who are 70, 80 or older, still say “I do!” to one another: because knowing love, for even a few delirious weeks, is stronger than the grave.
Christ was willing to take on the grave because of His love for us. We are willing to take on the pain of losing a loved one to death after just a short time because love is so amazing. And why shouldn’t it be? GOD is love. It is His nature, who He is, and He has chosen to share it with us.
PRAYER: God, thank You for the wonder of human love – as faultering and flawed as it is, for it gives us a glimpse of You and what we truly long for! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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