Normally, I avoid films where there‘s a lot of singing. With all kinds of excuses to my midwestern friends but "Oklahoma! Where the wind goes riding down the plains" is good for about two minutes. I‘ve been to Oklahoma and the people don‘t dance around and sing crazy songs like that (Unless they‘re from Muskogee where "white lightnin‘ is still the biggest thrill of all.") But there is one musical that I like. "Fiddler On the Roof". It‘s a story about a Jewish village in the time of the Czars of Russia. It features the family of a fellow called "Tevye". Up until this time the papas of his world had always chosen husbands for their daughters and he has a houseful of daughters. His daughters, though, have other ideas and they had fallen in love with guys that papa hadn‘t chosen.
So Tevye reflects on this with his wife Golda, then suddenly he bursts into song with, "Do you love me?" (People in musical movies are constantly bursting into songs instead of gunfights). Shrill-voiced Golda is taken aback by the question. Their marriage had been arranged by their parents and they were practically strangers on their wedding day. "Do I love you?" she sings. "For twenty-five years I've washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. "After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?" But at the end she allows that she supposes that she loves him. He brightens and sings that he supposes that he loves her too. (Song lyrics by Sheldon Harnick) Now, if you gotta sing, that‘s not too bad.
I think they understood being in love without naming it that. I‘m ready to go to war with "falling in love." I get the distinct feeling that a good part of the people who "fall in love" today are just having a hot flash. They "fall in love" for awhile then move on because, "I don‘t love you anymore." This world has glorified "falling in love" so much that they can justify anything because "I fell in love."
And as I heard recently of the object of one woman‘s adultery, "And he‘s a Christian too!" Oh, now I understand. (NOT!) And they leave in their wake a husband or a wife with a dagger in his heart, children eaten by fear wondering what‘s going to happen and Christian friends who ask themselves how they can remain faithful when assailed by temptation if that person couldn‘t stay faithful. Add to that group people who don‘t know Christ who turn away and say, "They said that Jesus changes your life but they‘re just like us." And a God whose heart is broken and whose glory is besmirched by people he loved and trusted, who disobeyed Him. But it‘s all right because they "fell in love" and "what can you do?"
God‘s love is much more that a state of being""falling in love. God‘s love is an action verb. God loved this world and he gave. And the husband who really knows God, loves his wife even when he doesn‘t feel he‘s getting a lot out of it. And she loves him even when she wishes for more from his side. God‘s love serves and his joy comes from loving. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church""for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery""but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (Ephesians 5: 25-33, NIV)
The love that I have for my wife is a pretty good measure of the love that I have for the Lord, at least that‘s my way of seeing things. Lots of people today need to quit flirting at the office, quit creating a soap-box-opera world of love on Facebook, quit dreaming through pornography, quit running away from home in their head. Be tough on these things. Quit them! Get started loving that person next to you with God‘s love. We express God‘s love by our actions, so think of something you can do to express love and serve them. And if they don‘t respond? Well, that pricks a bit, but we‘re doing it because we love the Lord and there‘s a reward that comes from His side of the equation. Love acts.
Hmmm ... "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." (Martha Washington)