Merry Christmas, my friends!
I hope that the light of Christ touches each of your hearts today, filling them with joy and peace and hope for the future.
Last night I performed a marriage blessing – my first time at the ‘altar’ (which was really just a chest of drawers – but you make due with what you have) – for my father and his now wife. I thought that I would share that with you…
Brothers and Sisters, listen to the Song of Solomon:
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
A seal upon your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
Passion as fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
A raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Neither can floods drown it.
If one is offered for love all the wealth
Of one’s house, it would be scorned
I’m sure you were expecting to hear the famous wedding reading; First Corinthians 13 – “Love is patient, love is kind…” We’ve all heard it and – to be sure – it is a beautiful passage, but it speaks to idealized love not to the reality of it. What happens when love is impatient and unkind? What if love is arrogant, insistent and irritable? What if love – a reflection of ourselves – cannot bear all, cannot hope and cannot believe? What then, brothers and sisters – can we still call this love? I think, yes, we can. Who says love must be gentle?
Solomon, the bridegroom in our passage, understood that. “Love’s flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.” Certainly this speaks more to the reality of love – from the sublime fire of initial passion, to the fierceness of love in moments of trial, even to the explosiveness of our tempers. But most importantly it speaks to the fire of transformation. Love, in all its joy and pain, transforms us. Raises us up to transcend who we once were, creating us anew. Better, stronger, more capable than before. If you don’t believe me, I urge you to re-watch how the Grinch stole Christmas. Love touches the heart of our furry friend and transforms him – this is the miracle of love. This is the kind of love Solomon says is as strong as death, as fierce as the grave.
N. and N. have been together for over 20 very complicated years. They have experienced a great many trials – both as individuals and as a couple. They’ve fought many demons – often times together but sometimes after having been driven apart from one another. And yet, they continued to come back to one another. Some would call this Masochism, but I think it is the understanding – the profound knowing – that they are better together than they could ever be apart. THIS is what love is – it ENDURES even when the hope of Corinthians fails. As Solomon says – many waters cannot quench the fires of love.
Merry Christmas, my friends. May the Grace and Peace of God our Father, the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit and the Love of the Non-Violent Jesus be with you all