The calendar includes Mother’s Day, Baby Dedications, Graduate Recognitions (for Children’s Ministry programming as well as for High School and College), Senior Adult Day, and, of course, Memorial Day.
Add to this the unfolding of June with Father’s Day, Bible School, and so many wedding anniversaries, and one can see just how much the family is emphasized during this particular season.
This is why I chose to emphasize the importance of loving one another in my Mother’s Day message yesterday. For if there is one underlying theme to all of these various emphases, then surely it is the bond of love.
The one story I shared that seems to have resonated the most with our church family was from an article to "Dear Abby" from back in November of 2002, as printed in the Eugene, Oregon Newspaper, the Register-Guard. It speaks volumes about why expressing our love to one another is so important.
I enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thirty-six days later, I was on my way to the Philippines. En route, the Philippines fell to the Japanese, and we were routed to Australia. Eleven days after we landed, I met the most beautiful girl in the world.
On our first date, I told her I was going to marry her. I did, 18 months later, while on a 10-day R-and-R leave from New Guinea.
After more than 57 years of marriage and two children, my beloved "Mary" died five days before Christmas. Although we agreed that our ashes were to be scattered over the mountains, I found I could not part with hers.
While Mary was alive, she would frequently say, "You don’t know how much I love you." I’d reply, "Likewise." I never said, "I love you." Now her ashes are on my dresser, where I tell her several times a day how much I love her, but it’s too late. Although I wrote poetry to her, I could not bring myself to say the three words I knew she wanted most to hear.
As my dearest was dying and we thought she was comatose, I told her, "There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I love you." A few hours later, she whispered, "Not enough words" and died.
The reason I’m writing is to urge men to express their feelings while their loved ones are alive. I don’t know why, but many men are reluctant to express the depth of their feelings.
MISSING MARY IN COLORADO*
So, again I say, take time to be intentional in letting your loved ones know how you feel about them. This especially applies to us men, for whom the simple act of saying "I love you" seems most difficult.
Our spouses, our children, and our parents all need to hear this. And so do we in return. For this is the bond that holds us together. This is true for both our physical families and our spiritual family.
Before he begins his famous oration on love in I Corinthians chapter 13, the Apostle Paul concludes chapter 12 with these words: "And yet I will show you the most excellent way." He then proceeds to show the supremacy of love over all other things.
The Apostle John likewise stresses the preeminence of love over all else. Indeed, he mentions love 80 times in his New Testament writings, stressing it more than any other writer.
In I John 4:7-11, he says, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
In light of this, may we learn to practice love, in both our words and our deeds!