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Sunday, February 14, 2016

It's the First Sunday of Lent

And it's Valentine's Day.

Clearly, we need to have a little Easter... a little feast... because what greater love is there than Jesus' death and resurrection?  The anticipation that builds, during Lent, is incredible.  Everyone wants to be loved like that (even if they don't know it).

When Phil and I began dating (in the dark ages of the mid-1990s), he was rather creative with Valentine's Day gifts.  As an example, I loved his mom's Christmas cookies.  So one year, he saved a dozen of them, in a Tupperware container, under his bed.  The truth is, I have no idea what Christmas cookies taste like when they are six weeks old, because Phil's mom found them and threw them away shortly before Valentine's Day.  Upon realizing her terrible mistake, she made me a fresh batch of heart shaped "Christmas cookies"...  I'm pretty sure I am forever grateful for this, because I totally would have eaten the other ones had Phil presented them to me.  That's what love does...

But my favorite gifts... ever... came in the form of cassettes filled with various love songs.  Phil made me a cassette in 1995... and 1996... and he made me two in 1997.  And then we got married.  And there were no more cassettes. I had no idea how much this mattered to me.

As many of you know, 2015 was a horrible year for us.  I'm not going to go over all of that again, but I do want to share that there was this moment, in the middle of all of the fighting, that I finally burst out with something to the effect of, "I need a new CD filled with love songs!  How hard is that?"  I was angry, friends, and this is what I wanted?  What I needed?  Are you kidding me?  Life is funny sometimes...

For our anniversary, in August, Phil re-created the first four cassettes on CD and made me three new ones.  I am in danger of wearing them out.  It was good.  It was enough.  I was happy.

Interestingly, this is what I found upon waking up, this morning:

I don't have the words to explain exactly how this made me feel.  The best I can do is to say that it was a reminder that we are OK.  Sometimes, that's all we need.

I think Sundays during Lent are like that.  In the midst of the fasting, in the midst of temptation and brokenness and sacrifice, there is a rhythm that allows us to pause for just a moment to remember that resurrection is coming.  We take this moment to consider that the greatest love is steady.  It lasts.  We can celebrate.  We're OK.

John 13:34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (NIV).

John 15: 12-13, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" (NIV).

Today, it's not about the candy or the flowers.  Be known.  Be OK.  Go love like Jesus loved.



  1. Marcus and I made each other cassettes (and later, cd's) of love songs, too!! Love this!