Tuesday, 21 April 2009
When we got back from holiday on Saturday, Sheri's brother John was just settling down to watch Twilight with his girlfriend. We joined them, not really knowing what to expect. At first it looked like it would be a ridiculous chick-flick - the sort you laugh at rather than with! But I have to confess it became quite gripping as the film went on.
Edward and Bella are falling ever more deeply in love, but then we find that he is a vampire (albeit 'vegetarian'!), and as they continue to fall in love he must resist the primal pull of her scent which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy. That's what makes it so attractive - in a world where we're much more used to love being portrayed as passionate affairs here is something so much more beautiful: a love that is deeply sacrificial and is shown by immense self-control.
Lo and behold, the next day one of Sheri's friends on Facebook posts her status as just having read the book 'and now has unrealistic expectations of men!' We live in a world where this kind of love is seen as unrealistic - you just can't expect a man to act like that! Or can you? We follow a man whose love to all leaves Edward's love for Bella in the shade. I, as a Christian man - particularly as a Christian man preparing for marriage - am called to imitate that love. 'Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her' (Ephesians 5:25). Sounds pretty unrealistic, doesn't it? How can someone as self-centred as me ever hope to do that? Only when I realise that this verse follows on from Paul's exhortation to be 'filled with the Spirit' (5:18). With the Holy Spirit at work within me all things become possible - even to love as Christ loved!
Wouldn't it be great if, rather than believing that such an attractive love belongs only in fiction, our world was confronted with the fact that this love is real and is powerfully at work in followers of Jesus Christ? As human beings made in the image of God we long for this love, but only in Christ is it truly experienced in all its fulness.