Today is the day I have been hanging out for all year...
The day that is the novelty of novelties...
The 7th of the 7th 2007.
Anyway, on another note, I went to a wedding today. It was a lovely wedding, Hannah and Pete who I know from EU. I always love going to weddings, and regardless of how well I know the couple always end up getting emotional to some degree. I mean as well as the fun of checking out the over the choices of dress and flowers etc, the committment of two people to spend their lives together and, what's more, love each other for the rest of their lives is a beautiful thing, and pretty huge!
But one thing that particularly stayed in my mind was something from the sermon - it went something like "love is recognising a real need in someone, and taking action to fulfil that need. Love is insight, followed by proaction - not just thinking loving thoughts, or feeling loving feelings". I don't know why it particularly jumped out at me, but it did. I guess it's always interesting to hear people's definitions of what love is - it can say a lot about that person, and it's one of those huge concepts that a dictionary definition won't quite satisfy.
For example, I haven't actually seen the movie 'Love Story', but there's that quote from it "love means never having to say you're sorry", which personally I think is just ridiculous. There has to be forgiveness in love, but never having to say you're sorry means there would be no remorse for hurting the other person; the whole process of recognising whatever there is to say sorry for, and out of love for the person committing to not do it again, forgiving and moving on is kind of lost. It would be easy for unresolved bitterness and resentment to bubble away.
What I like about the insight/proaction thing from the sermon is that it clearly takes the focus away from ourselves. I find it so easy to just look for what I need and can get from love (in whatever form by the way, whether it be family, friends, or romantic (oooh!)) - almost not wanting to let go of that to focus on the other person for fear that my own needs won't get met. But that is true, selfless love, to recognise a real need - not a perceived need - in another person, and try to fulfil it. Mmm, that was a little unexpectedly deep.
The ultimate example of this is God seeing a need (although 'seeing a need' seems kind of inadequate a phrase for God who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves) for forgiveness for hurting our relationship with him through sin, and sending Jesus to die on the cross to achieve that reconciliation with him. Seeing the need (forgiveness) and taking action to fulfil it (Jesus).
It also makes me think of 1 Corinthians 13:
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails.
If you replaced all the 'love's with 'God' it works too. But each of those things is also something that every human being needs - those deep down innate needs. Everyone needs patience, kindness etc. - in other words, to be loved. I know that could sound a little sappy, but it's true. And to truly love isn't to focus on getting those things ourselves (where would we be if we only loved if we were loved by other people?) but recognising the needs for those things in other people and being active in actually doing something about it. (I wish I were better at it!)
I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I think I'll end these musings for tonight here. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts/disagreements, whatever.