e-letter 1/25/19

I have a confession to make: I love reality TV. Now don’t get too disappointed in me! I really only like one genre: wedding shows. Sure, the budgets are unrealistic, the drama faked, and the choices that some brides make are … interesting, to say the least. But I’m really sappy. I love watching people fall in love. I love watching them pick their favorite gown, talk about their love story, and celebrate the miracle they have found. Now that my friends are getting married, we often reference these shows in our planning. What can I say? We love LOVE. We love a good Pinterest wedding, too!  
The other reason I love reality TV and planning my friends’ weddings is this: boy, is mutual love a miracle! So much of the joy of those TV shows is watching people find beautiful romantic love. Despite so many challenges (all drawn out to dramatic music) they have made it. They have found a partner, a soulmate even. They are doing what so many long to do, which is probably why their ratings are so successful!  
We live in a society where a healthy marriage is a miracle. Half the population is currently single. Even when folks get married, the divorce rate tells us that only 1 out of those 2 marriages make it. Marriage is beautiful, difficult, and often fragile. It is a miracle when we hear of marriages that make it 60+ years. (Although we are fortunate here at Suntree to have so many of these examples among us.) Long lasting, strong mutual love is no longer common, as so many of you know, for so many difficult and complicated reasons. So many of us recognize that in our own intimate family stories. Mutual love is miraculous, indeed.  
This week in worship we celebrate that miracle of mutual love, mutual service, mutual submission. We celebrate the deep intimacy found in marriage and the metaphor that it holds for the relationship between Christ and the church. In Ephesians 5, we will hear that we are to love our spouses as Christ loves the church. We will also hear practical instruction on how to care for our spouses like Christ loves us. This text can be used in harmful ways, and so we’ll talk about God’s intentions for us as married folks, and the opportunity we have in marriage to model Christ-like love.  
Wherever you are in your own journey with mutual love, hear this: marriage is a beautiful gift, and it is also hard. We celebrate those of you who are making it work and mourn with those of you for whom that has become untenable. We are excited to share how we can be more Christ-like in marriage, because in this, we are really talking about how to have healthy intimacy in all our relationships.  
We’ll see you Sunday!
Pastor Allee