|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ~ October 2011|
On a couch in a cozy corner of a home in North Portland I sat with Bob and Maxine, both aged over 80 and together for well over half a century. I watched as they held hands and occasionally cried softly through the sermon on suffering Cork shared this past Sunday.
Cork is married to their daughter Sue and this year they celebrate 40 years of marriage. Later this year, Cork will have to bury his love. Sue is near the end of her heroic battle with cancer. Since the notification a few weeks ago, hundreds of people who love Sue and her family are making personal pilgrimages to their home. I am one of them.
After most of the other visitors left, I sat alone with Sue. She told me how much more real Jesus’s love has felt to her recently. As she unconsciously fiddled with the collar of her night gown, her clear deep blue eyes gleamed as her feeble voice spoke with power words of truth and love. We talked about how she saw and felt Jesus’s love through the kindness of her husband. With the heart of school girl she told me how Cork insisted they celebrate their anniversary this week even though the actual date is in October. He made potato and steak soup. She ate the broth and he ate the potato and steak.
On Saturday, I attended the wedding of two of my friends. These two friends are at the beginning of their journey together in love. Along with those who love them, I danced and laughed and hugged. Hope and love were tangible. On Sunday, during a worship service in a living room with 30 of their friends and family members, I watched Cork stand up from his chair and rub Sue’s now bald head and hold her hand as we sang praise to God. Together with those who love them, I cried and sang and hugged. Faith and love were tangible.
At the beginning and at the end, there is love. This is the Good News.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4 NIV