Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Monday, Third Week after Pentecost
Most gracious God, we give thanks for the joy and blessings that You grant to husbands and wives. Assist them always by Your grace that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep their marriage vows, grow in love toward You and for each other, and come at last to the eternal joys that You have promised; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
In the English language the word “love” is as broad as it gets. When a young man is dating a girl in today’s culture, he is careful not to say “I love you!” to the young lady until he is ready to have a serious relationship with her. To say it too quickly in the relationship without meaning it could send a very confusing message. Yet on their first date, the young man would have no problem saying that he absolutely “loves” vanilla ice cream, and “loves” the color socks that some stranger is wearing.
No wonder the ancient Greeks had four different words for love. There was family love (storge), romantic love (eros), brotherly love (philia), and godly love (agape). There was much less confusion over what people meant when they used the word “love” in ancient times.
Today is my wife’s and my anniversary. Twenty-nine years together. I can remember the first time that we spent together like it was yesterday. Memories of traveling together from Wisconsin to Camp SonRise on the shore of Schroon Lake in Upstate New York. A mutual friend of ours talked us into working at a Lutheran camp over the summer. Cheri was going to be the head cook. She had never cooked in her life! But as the camp director told her, if she was crazy enough to want the position, she must be teachable. I was going to be the Adventure Director in charge of week-long canoe trips and two-week long bike trips. Most of the campers were bused in from New York City and had never been outside of concrete and city lights their entire lives. Talk about culture shock! It was a great experience!
On the weekends when we had down time, the camp staff got to do laundry and hang out together. That’s when our friendship developed. My future wife and I became best friends. We still are, even now after 29 years.
Along the way, God taught us much about godly love. He expanded our understanding of his love for us, and He transferred that kind of love in our relationship over the years. Don’t get me wrong. This does not mean that we never fought or said harsh words, though those were very few and far between. We did go through challenging experiences over the years that tested our relationship strength. Yet through it all, God taught us how to forgive and to overcome our brokenness so that we are able to truly love each other deeply. I love my wife more today that I did in those first moments of true love.
I also distinctly remember coming back after that summer camp experience and walking into her dormitory at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, with some very important news. I waited for the right moment and then said, “I think I love you.” The funny thing is…she wasn’t sure she heard me correctly! And…I had a girlfriend at the time…that was going to complicate a lot of things! But the rest, they say, is history.
I’m thankful for my wife, and for the godly love that God has put into our hearts for one another. Especially now that we are spending a few months living in a rather small trailer!
May God’s love be poured out upon you more and more so that we all truly understand the depth, the height, the width and the length of God’s love in Christ Jesus.
In the arms of his grace,
Pastor Langdon Reinke
P.S. Hope you and your family are doing well. We have volunteers and help available if needed, let us know.