We live in a world of symbols. That red octagonal sign at the intersection, the yellow circle with two dots and a friendly, upward curving line, and the envelope-shaped icon that appears on our computer screens––we all can identify these right away. All of us equate the “who” of the brown night bird with wisdom and the white morning bird with peace.
And everyone understands the heart symbol––the red curvy one on a Valentine card and the one formed with fingers from both hands, index fingers touching forming the rounded top and the thumbs the bottom point. Universally, we know the meaning of a heart.
Love, of course!
According to the Apostle John, we know true love when we know the Author of love: God. How beautiful! Since God is love, we rest assured that love is strong and lasting and powerful and, well, eternal. Nothing is stronger nor more powerful than love.
For the third time in my life, I crooked my arm and felt the hand of a daughter hold onto me as we proceeded up an aisle formed by loved ones on each side. I walked in time to the music, matching my steps to my daughter’s, gently kissing her before placing her hand into the hand of her chosen.
Familiar, yet, so much of this third time was brand new. Jenny chose to marry her beloved Donald in the middle of a pandemic. Little could the two know when they set the date that their special day would be overshadowed by the coronavirus. All of us waited, believing that the virus would run its course and be gone by their July date. When the calendar moved halfway through June, the couple brainstormed contingencies. On the first of July, they moved the venue to her parents’ back lawn and drastically shortened the guest list to 30. They decided to go with their plans and unite in holy matrimony. On that predetermined date. During a global pandemic.
Also new to this third time: the officiating clergy were Jenny’s sister Mary and brother-in-law Alan. As I took my place by Kathy, I watched not only the two marrying but also the two joining. What a beautiful and unfamiliar day. Masked and socially distanced, we witnessed a new beginning. We celebrated love.
Between watching and listening, I probably missed a bit of the ceremony. But then the resounding words pierced my ears and heart: “Jenny and Donald,” intoned Alan, “have chosen love over fear.”
As Mary and Alan prepared for the ceremony, they took love over fear as the theme. What a perfect message for beginning a new family in the midst of trauma. In July, there were more unknowns than there were knowns; much is the same even today. Choosing love over fear is worthy, and in so doing, His people choose God over our own understanding. Love prevails.
You and I stand at the threshold of a new year and trust the One who already inhabits that future. What is unknown pales beside our loving God.
At the conclusion of the wedding, our families gathered for a photo the couple wanted as a remembrance. They chose the heart symbol––the symbol for love. The word that describes our God. Choose love over fear.
Happy beginning to all with love.
Homeword is written by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor