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Thoughts From Martin Copenhaver

Dear Friends,

After two weeks away enjoying the beautiful foliage in Northern New England I wanted to catch up and send you another thought which I found very much worth reading! It doesn't take much looking around to see that marriage (the covenant God ordained in creation) has taken a strong hit from many sectors of society.

An article put out by Bentley University states: “Millennials are making history by saying no to traditional marriage in record numbers — and they may be radically changing a centuries-old institution. While traditional marriage has been on a downward trajectory for generations, with this group — the oldest now 40 years old — it appears to be in free fall according to a report by the Pew Research Center…”

Be that as it is, my spirit couldn’t help but resonate with the words of Martin Copenhaver regarding one of the very positive aspects of marriage found in his devotional entry from, “The Gospel in Miniature.” You can see if your heart resonates in the same way. Enjoy.

One Person at a Time

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” Luke 12:6

“Saint Augustine said that God is able to love each person as if he or she were the only person in the world. But we cannot do that. As human beings we are limited in that way. Sometimes, however, we can love one particular person in that intensely focused way. It could be a spouse, or a partner, or a friend. And to love one person that completely is to catch a glimpse of how much God cares for each one of us.

In the movie “Shall We Dance?” the character played by Susan Sarandon reflects on why people get married: “We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet. I mean, what does any one life mean? But in marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying: ‘Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness.’”

What that character said about marriage can also be said of close and abiding friendships. Our love may not be able to encompass everyone – at least not fully. But sometimes we can love one person as if he or she were the only person in the world. We can promise to care about everything. We can bear witness to that person’s life. At the heart of the Christian Gospel is the affirmation that God in Christ is the witness to our lives, all of our lives. It is a love which we can catch glimpses of in our relationships with one another, one person at a time.”

I like to think of marriage that way. It’s the choice, commitment, and covenant promise one makes to love, and be the ever-present witness of their spouse’s life, for their entire life, through good and bad, happy and sad. Why? So that our marriage partner knows that come what may – should all others not notice, or not care, or not see, or not support, or not love him or her, they can know we will.

In a world of billions, where things are often so impersonal and the sheer multitude of people can make us feel very, very insignificant, how comforting it is when in marriage one says to us, “I want to share your life. I want to be there for you through all life can bring. I want you to know that in a world where it’s easy to get lost among the masses, I will notice, I will care, I will see, I will miss you when you’re away, and I will wait for the time you come home.”

As a kid the one thing I remember most about my grandfather when he was well into his 90’s, and had been married to my grandmother for 60+ years, was him pacing over to the window frequently when she was taken shopping, and had been gone for an extra-long time. He noticed. He cared. He watched. He may have worried. But he waited for her to return home, always with a sigh of relief when she did. I never doubted how much he loved her. I know she didn’t either. What a blessing to know someone cared that much.

In His Grace, Pastor Jeff


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