george hancockstefan“All over the world tonight, All over the world, people Just like us have fallen in love”

Many of you who read this column will remember that the title is from 1976 Carpenters song, copied by so many other musicians since. The Carpenters were gifted at singing those love songs that made people fall in love, nostalgic over the years past, dance until the early morning hours, or decide to add some spark to their relationship.

One of the wonderful blessings of the pastorate is to meet with people in premarital sessions.  On one hand, I found that even people who are living together are not ready for marriage.  The nitty-gritty of daily life, and the intricacies and the principles of what makes strong marriages are so absent today.  On the other hand, it is glorious to see these young couples (and sometimes older) come to premarital counseling and show how deeply in love they are with one another.  From the old-fashioned things like opening the door or making sure that the lady is seated first, to the reciprocal compliments that are showered both in written assignments and discussions, and those looks that say over and over again, ‘I Love You’, I hear the refrain, “All over the world tonight people are falling in love”.

Then I am blessed to hear love stories.  Love stories that sometimes started in the elementary schools, or in a double date when they knew that they will fall in love with the person that was not their date that night, or that accidental situation in which they somehow ended with one another in the school or office for the first time, or the time when they saw the other person and before they even met they said to their best friend, “I am going to marry that person!”. Then there have been those situations in which they have fallen in love not only with their beloved partner, but with an entire family – a father or mother – widowed and divorced – and it was love at first sight.

Love is such a resplendent thing. From the ancient traditions which are practiced in various parts of the world in which the bride and the groom do not see one another until the wedding day, to those spontaneous situations in which people meet for the first time and they decide to get married within one day or one week, to those who are engaged in order to prepare themselves for their lives together, to those who live together, so that they will not make major mistakes in their married life in the future, people are falling in love tonight.

The Bible tells us that God is love and those who love like God intends us to love are born from God.  There is also a whole chapter on love in the Bible -1 Cor. 13.  There is also a whole book called the Song of Songs in which the lovers are singing their love songs to one another.  There are passages in the Bible that declare the importance of keeping oneself pure for the marriage partner and being prepared for the married life.  God the Creator did not leave us without an instruction manual on how to live with one another and for one another or how to love one another.

The last thing that I find when I talk with new couples is that somehow, they have seen this passionate love in another person.  They have seen this effervescent love in a teacher, or a neighbor, a friend, or sometimes in grandparents who for 50 or 70 years continually loved one another more than they did on their wedding day.

On this Hallmark date when we celebrate Valentine, the holiday for lovers, I pray that your love for one another will be fresh, godly, passionate, exciting, and binding.  And while you are loving one another, may your love be observed by at least another couple who will model their future after you.