25 years and counting

This Saturday, Oct. 1, my brother, Allen, and sister-in-law, Susan, will celebrate 25 years of marriage by renewing their wedding vows. My father will officiate the ceremony in their small home with a few close friends and family and unfortunately, I can’t be there to join them due to distance.

I write this post to celebrate marriages like Allen and Susan’s, not just for their longetivity, but for their love and the impact it’s had on those around them. No one could have explained to them 25 years ago what Chapter 13 of I Corinthians really meant, they had to live it, sleep with it, hold their tongue in it, turn the other cheek, give until the giving got really painful and pray for more grace to wake up and do it again the next day.

I can see the dividends that this faithfulness has brought about in their children, my nieces and nephews, and I can hear the joy excitement in their voices as they tell me all about their new grandbabies–as my sister-in-law explains that this is only God’s grace.

I love this picture because it captures both their love for one another and their personalities so well. Susan is passionate, faithful, headstrong and Allen is emotional too, but steady, deep, unwavering.

God bless you both on 25 years.

1 Corinthians 13

The Way of Love (the Message)

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.