A Note from the DCE

This coming week we have the convergence of two calendar events – Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day.  While one might initially say flowers and chocolates don’t mix well with ashen cross shaped smudges on the forehead, they both point to demonstrating love.     

“And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean.”  - Mark 9:9-10

Jesus revealed glory and power on the mountain with His transfiguration in the presence of three disciples.  Certainly they felt honored to be there, stunned to the point they did not know what to say, and Peter stammered out some nonsensical sentence.  We see love starting out that way.  A glamorous proposal with light dazzling through a diamond engagement ring leads to an embrace, words of love, and plans for a life together.  What comes next is the hard part.  Real life hits with all the challenges mixed up with joy, and suddenly you remember you promised to love in sickness and in health, in wealth and in poverty, for as long as life endures.  Love that endures is less dazzling and more drudgery as it goes along.

But isn’t that the truth of this convergence.  Jesus demonstrated his love for the 3 and the 12 and for the entire world in his humiliation – not in His glory.  His glory showed them His majesty.  They got to be near Him and that was an honor to be sure.  But love goes further to sacrifice and to meeting the needs of the one you love.  Love is demonstrated better in the endurance of hard times with the one you love, and in the daily rigors to take care of someone, than it does in the romance of special moments.  Love is walking with someone in valleys as well as the mountaintops of life.  It endures.  It remains.  Love is better represented in 73 years of marriage than in 73 roses on February 14.  It is the burnt up palm branches that remember glorious times past, but now is the ashen smudge representation of loving someone to death. 

Jesus chose to dim the light of His glory in order to go into the darkness and win our freedom.  And just like a proposal with flowers and chocolates, we are free to say no.  He loves us and gives us the gift of freely embracing His loving sacrifice.  And just like a stadium, or a restaurant crowd, that pauses to behold a proposal, the world can see true love and rejoice.  We want people to see the true and sacrificial love of Jesus shown on our foreheads and in our hearts so they too can see the light.

…Mark Thompson