She has spent all week thinking and somewhat obsessing. He is living one day at a time with the assurance that the weekend will not be lonely. She is with her friends and the conversation has circled where everything that could be said is said countless times with great analysis and excitement. He has quickly mentioned Friday to his closest two friends and few questions were asked. Her mental image of her outfit has changed daily and by Friday morning she is giddy with imagination of what the night will bring. His Friday is coming to a close and a bit of nervousness that will never be admitted begins to set in. The doorbell rings and there he is, dressed to impress and extremely courteous. She needs five more minutes and soon they will be out to dinner and a fun evening.
His dreams seem dashed. She is too tired to have dreams. His dream is to rule the world...or at least some little piece of it. Her dream is to be equal and respected and to be content with simply being together. He comes home tired and discouraged by the his dead end job. She is home worn out from being disconnected from the world and longing to get a glimpse of something better. Separately they imagine a greater existence; together they keep the routine grind. They eat, they schedule the next day, and lay down to sleep.
A boy silently watches as mom and dad aren't around each other as much as they once were. A girl cries at night for daddy who now lives across town. A 7 year old literally feels the tug between two angry parents trying to decide who gets the bargaining chip...him. Brothers and sisters in great distress don't dare to say anything as dad rants about their recent irresponsibility. They all come into church and sit on a pew with great reverence as the preacher harps on the ideas of why we should want heaven and how we must follow the rules of the Bible to free ourselves from Hell.
My most recent sermon series has been on "Growing Love" in different relationships. We have covered friendships, dating, marriage, and parenting (this Sunday). There is much to say about all of these, however, I tried to stay focused on how to cultivate loving relationships as disciples of Jesus. It has been a challenging and yet a rewarding series. God wants his disciples to grow love in friendship, dating, marriage, and parenting. Sometimes that seems easy and sometimes not. The truth is that relationships are difficult. They are imperfect. However, no matter how imperfect we are, we serve and root our relationships in the Perfect One. It won't make us perfect, but it will give us cause to pursue Him and continually work on these relationships. I cannot say in this blog everything I have said on these subjects. I'm not sure I said it very well in my sermons, but I said more there. You can listen to those sermons here.
I hope that with everything going on in our world and especially our country right now that we will invest heavily in our relationships. My prayer is that we won't allow our current political climate destroy relationships that it took a lifetime to build. If we aren't growing love in our relationships we are allowing hate to kill them. Being a disciple of Jesus means pursuing love and cultivating our relationships built on His promises. Sometimes when we can't figure it out, it is time to break out the water, bowl, and towel and begin washing feet.
These stories above resemble these different relationships. When we grow love we have friendships that are deep, rich, and life-giving. We have dating relationships that are fun, encouraging, and lovely. We have marriages that are imaginative, exciting, and reciprocal. We have relationships with our children and our children with us that help us grow to look like Jesus, are moments of the Spirit, and reflective of God himself.
In your prayer and meditation time this week choose to dream and imagine how you personally and we as Christians can grow love in our relationships.