What is Love? – A Poem

What is Love?
By Nichole Henry at age 16

What is Love?
Love is the strongest-
The most confusing feeling.

One moment I am elated to the highest point in the heavens,
My joy reaching to the very edges of the galaxy.
The next I am lying in bed,
Too stunned, hurt and sad even to cry.
I vow to give love up,
Then crumble at the next hint of its promise
I surrender to its power
Then cower in a corner when it turns its back on me.

I lose a friend and swear I’ll never have another-
Acquaintances are enough.
Then I blink and I have a friend
A real, perfect, loving friendship-
And I can already see signs of its end.
I see people I never wanted to see again
And hold tightly to the ones I have left,
Even as they slip through my fingers.

I turn around
And see more people standing there,
Covered in the hint of a promise.
I turn away,
Run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.
I won’t go through that pain again.
I can’t go through that pain again.

I glance over my shoulder to see how much distance I’ve gained,
And when I see no one,
Relief threatens to envelop me.
I stumble and fall.
A hand reaches out of the darkness to help me,
And as I grasp it gratefully I can see the people I was running from,
Surrounding me and caring for me,
Loving me.

I wonder,
Is it possible to escape love’s vicious cycle?
Is there anything I can do.
And then I remember
Why this earthly love has always failed,
Why it always breaks its promises
Why it never lasts.
I wonder why it took me so long.

I remember the stories I was taught
Of the day sin and death entered the world.
How sin coats everything,
Fills everything,
Consumes everything,
Controls everything,
Destroys everything.
Of course this love always ends!

We are sinful beings
Our love is a sinful love.
It is a selfish love,
A dependent love,
An ending love,
A betraying love.
I fall to my knees crushed under the awful reality-
If my love is sinful then it will always fail.

Every time-
With no exceptions.
I wonder if anywhere there is a perfect love
A love that never dies,
Never leaves,
Never ends.
And then I remember the One who’s Name is Love.

He never changes,
He always has been
And always will be.
His name is the Keeper of Promises,
Gracious Father,
Savior of an evil people.
And He offers perfect love-
For nothing.

I wonder what took me so long to remember
My Creator and Savior,
My Redeemer and Friend.
I turn to the One
Who’s perfect love casts out all fear,

Who is always ready to forgive,
Who’s love is unchanging and unyielding
Before my utter unfaithfulness.

I remember how His love conquered death,
And consequently how death cannot end His love.
I look to Love
And find ever-flowing,
Never ending,
Never changing,
Pure, full, perfect

And I change.
My love can also be perfect.
I need no longer fear to love,
For I have been bought by the Perfect Love,
The Love of Christ Jesus my Lord.
And nothing-
No one,
Can snatch me out of love’s Hands.

May I Invite You?

I have never enjoyed Easter as a pastor.  For those who have attended my church this is not shocking as I tend to not like most any holiday.  But how can I not enjoy Easter?  This was a discussion I had last Easter with my son-in-law, Matt Miller.  It was at my house after the service and he had just thanked me for my message.  I believe I just shook my head and said that I did not enjoy the sermon at all as I preached it.  I explained that it always felt forced, like I “had” to do a resurrection sermon every Easter and how it was a struggle to make it fresh.  That’s when, without meaning to, he rebuked me.  He commented on how he did not think I needed to be fresh, that there was true value in repetition of certain things.

That is when he uttered a word I had never heard before, “Tenebrae,” which is Latin for darkness or shadows.  Turns out that he attended a Tenebrae service at his seminary on Good Friday.  He spoke of how it left a deep impact on his mind, how leaving the service with everyone else in total silence and how leaving it with one thought on his mind, Jesus was dead, weighed heavily on his thoughts leading up the Easter Sunday.  Then on Sunday he gathered with Missio Dei and rejoiced with everyone over Jesus’ resurrection.

And with that, a decision was made in my mind and then confirmed by the other elders that we would have a Tenebrae Service this year.  I want to invite all to come and remember the crucifixion of our Lord.  I want you to bring your children so that they can see and hear that sobering event played out.  It will be slightly less than one hour of Scripture readings and singing.  It will be interactive and serious.

And then come back on Sunday with the anticipation of our Lord who is not dead!  No, He is alive and in that resurrection defeated our great enemy, death.