A first wedding anniversary is traditionally called a ‘paper’ anniversary. Paper is vulnerable. It is easily crushed and torn—and that is what the opening stanzas of marriage are like, as a couple make their first tentative attempts at creating the poetry of life together.
It takes 60 years to reach the strength of a diamond. Our most precious stone begins as carbon in the depths of the earth, and is formed through extreme temperatures and pressure. A couple celebrating their diamond anniversary are a force of nature, their marriage has been shaped through the storms and gravity of life. And through it they have created something precious. Indeed, they’ve created one of the strongest and most precious gifts we have as humans.
Valentine’s Day is a paper-thin celebration of romance. It’s as fragile as the cards we give. That’s not to say it’s wrong or bad—but Valentine’s only reflects the very first stanzas of true romance. Like the couple who bravely shared their story in ‘My Difficult Marriage’ (p. 6), real and lasting love is much grittier and takes courage. Out of sacrifice and pain, something precious is created.
It seems to be a spiritual law that we can’t have joy without sorrow. We cannot have the resurrection without the cross. The greatest love, of course, is the love of Jesus and all that he did when he became a man. This week we begin the journey of Lent (see p. 20), and as we move our minds towards the cross, it’s a wonderful opportunity to reflect on true, eternal love.
1 Peter 4:13 (New Living Translation)
Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
1 Pita 4:13
Engari ka uru nei koutou ki ngā mamae o te Karaiti, kia hari koutou; he mea hoki e hari ai koutou, whakamanamana rawa, ā te whakakitenga mai o tōna korōria.