Scripture Reading: Genesis 29:15-28
Then Laban said to Jacob, ‘Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.’ Laban said, ‘It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. –Genesis 29:15-20
Arranged marriages seem strange to us although it is still practiced in some cultures. We might learn something from arranged marriages in that they deal with the realities of living and raising families more than our romanticized version where falling in love sometimes exceeds common sense. On the other hand, sharing life with someone, we never learn to love, might be worse. Someone once told me that the best marriages result in marrying someone with whom we fall in love and that we learned to love with our whole being continuing to grow that love over the years. Falling in love is wanting the best for ourselves; truly loving someone means we want the best for them too.
Marriage in the eyes of God is covenantal. A covenant is more than a contract. It is binding and is often the word used to describe our relationship with God. I fear we too experience the falling in love and loving conundrum regarding our relationship with God. The interesting paradox regarding our relationship with God is that what is best for God is always best for us also, although, at times, it is hard for us to accept that reality. God commanded us to love God and love one another. In so doing we will thrive. Temptations suggest to us that there are short cuts to obtaining that end and that God’s definition of thriving may differ from the world’s definition. God also envision that thriving occurs in community. God calls us to want the best for everyone, which implies working together in love.
Of late, we seem more divided than ever. We invest in weapons of war rather than the nurture of love. If climate change is not affecting us directly, we cannot worry about those areas of our world already suffering from its impact. We are more interested in making a profit from prisons than restoring our neighbors to wholeness. If someone is hungry, he or she should get a job even though they already have one or even two. To the sick, we say no one dies from lack of health care.
What is it going to take for us to fall in love with God again and practice the ongoing art of loving God and loving our neighbors, wanting the best for God and all of God’s children?
Prayer: Lord, teach us to thrive in your love not seeking to thrive in the ways of the world. Amen.