My anniversary is coming up. My husband and I have been married three years come next Thursday, and we tend to have a hard time remembering the date we got married. Last year, one of his church members congratulated us on our big celebration coming up that week… and we couldn’t remember what it was.
I mean, we don’t forget that we are married, we just kinda forget the date we got married. There was some calendar shifting back when we were setting the date and so the best reminder that we have is the collection of photographs that my cousin Julie made us of found numbers which display our wedding date. It was a good wedding, don’t get me wrong. I was honored that so many people decided to change their plans in their lives so they could celebrate the beginning of our lives together. But there were so many other things going on at the same time that month and a half that I’m pretty glad that we remember we got married in May.
There are other dates on our calendar of memories, like our first kiss, that have a bit more of a distinction because of the utter shift in our relationship a that point. When we got married, it was more on a continuum of our relationship and a gathering of our family and a celebration in the context of a worship service. It was a holy moment of pause in our lives, marking a change in our lives. We were able to celebrate and demonstrate our love for each other, entering into a new covenant relationship together in the presence of God and the gathered community.
But see, that’s the thing. We do that nearly ever week. Granted, our gathered community is sometimes different, we don’t form a new covenant each week, and we don’t always get to gather together (nearly) everyone who has meant something to us in our lives up to that point. But when we gather for worship, the most important thing is not our romantic love for each other, but the love that God has for all of us.
The love between me and my husband is strong, tender, affirming, and intimate. The love that we build within our community should have the same kind of strength. I’m not expecting anyone to snuggle with me, but as a community we should share the same kind of love that flows from God, a love that is even better than that between a happily married couple.
I deeply love my husband. I can’t wait to see him again after I’ve gone to see friends for a overnight trip or even if we’ve spent the day apart. I love him more intimately than anyone else in the world. Already in the three short years that we have spent together he has seen me and stuck with me at my utter worst and at my very best.
But God’s love is bigger than ours. Maybe that’s why I have a hard time remembering the date of the celebration coming up next Thursday, but don’t have trouble remembering the coming Sunday’s celebration.